All the Different Ways the Sports Community Has Showed Support for Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts

All the Different Ways the Sports Community Has Showed Support for Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts

More than 100 people have been confirmed dead as Hurricane Ian relief efforts continue in Southern Florida, South Carolina, Cuba, and other communities affected by the destruction and devastation left behind by what is now one of the strongest storms in United States’ history.

The Category 4 hurricane landed in Florida on September 28th, causing many residents – including sports teams – to temporarily relocate. After wreaking havoc on Florida, the hurricane moved offshore and was downgraded as a tropical storm before reappearing in South Carolina.

With Hurricane Ian relief efforts ongoing, we’re learning more each day about the tragedies left behind. Innocent families without loved ones, millions of people without power, and tens of billions of dollars in damages are just some of the realities some are faced with as a result.

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The Sports Community Lends a Helping Hand to Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts

All the Different Ways the Sports Community Has Showed Support for Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts
america365 / Shutterstock

Anytime tragedy hits – especially in the United States – the sports community finds a way to come together as one. Things were no different with this tragedy as sports teams and athletes alike found ways to lend a helping hand in support of the many Hurricane Ian relief efforts. 

A majority of the support came from teams in the Florida area or athletes that have roots to the Florida area, but prayers were being sent from around the MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL, college sports teams, high school sports teams, and any other pro or amateur sports league based in the US. 

It’s amazing what we’re capable of when we join hands in unity and that’s exactly what we’re seeing with all the Hurricane Ian relief efforts being sent to the affected communities. There are numerous ways to help, but here’s how some sports teams and athletes are helping out. 

15. FAU Softball

Riley Ennis, a senior softball player for Florida Atlantic University (FAU), grew up in the Fort Myers community and her parents were still living at her childhood home at the time of the storm. With her parents in the direct path of the storm, Ennis was worried sick about them.

After the storm passed, Ennis – along with the rest of her softball team – took a trip down to Fort Myers. They had two things on their agenda – reunite Ennis with her family and help with the cleanup and rebuilding of the community. They also brought supplies for those in need. 

14. FSU Football

Dillan Gibbons is the epitome of what you want in a football player, teammate, and community member. Currently an offensive lineman at Florida State University (FSU), Gibbons founded his own nonprofit – Big Man Big Heart – encouraging young athletes to use NIL money for good.

At the end of September, Gibbons – through his foundation – started a Hurricane Ian relief fund to help those in need. With the help of FSU quarterback Jordan Travis and FSU defensive lineman Malakai Menzer, the fund has already raised more than $27,000 with 400 donations.

13. Mike Trout

A majority of the Hurricane Ian relief efforts on this list are in the form of donations (supplies or cash) or labor (cleanup, rebuild). With that said, not everyone has the time or means to help physically and others don’t have the money – but that doesn’t mean you can’t show support.

Mike Trout has more than enough money to donate, but he chose to support by sending well wishes and prayers to those in danger – something these families can use a lot of right now. Trout is an amateur storm chaser, but even he knows that some storms are too dangerous.

12. Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins play their home games at Target Field – a mere 1,700 miles from the Fort Myers community. Still, the Twins have a deep history with the community that dates back 32 years – their Single-A team plays in Fort Myers and the Twins hold spring training in the area.

Their minor league stadium suffered minor damage and everyone was accounted for. With so many families struggling in the aftermath of the hurricane, the Twins have opened the stadium as a staging area for first responders. It’s something they’ve always been prepared to do. 

11. Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets are no stranger to the damage and destruction left behind by a hurricane after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Houston area in 2017. At the time, people from across the country came to Houston’s aid – supplies, prayers, cleanup, rebuild, and much more. 

With Fort Myers going through something similar, the Rockets are giving back. Along with the family of the owner and Alen Rosen, the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable, the Rockets ran a donation drive at Toyota Center – fans donating seven items can receive tickets to a Rockets’ game.

10. Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves have a close relationship with both the Florida and South Carolina communities – both of which were hit by Hurricane Ian. Their Rookie League and Single-A teams play in Florida, while their High-A and Triple-A teams play in Georgia and South Carolina.

When news of the destructive Hurricane Ian started to break, the Braves felt the need to help – and that’s exactly what they did. During their October 1st and 2nd home games, the team donated the proceeds from their 50/50 raffle to Team Rubicon’s hurricane relief efforts. 

9. Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays, who made the playoffs for the fourth consecutive time this season before losing in the Wild Card, pledged $1 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts – along with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a professional soccer team that has played in the USL Championship since 2008.

In addition to their massive donation, the Rays and Rowdies hosted several donation drives where residents and fans can do their part in helping the affected communities. Those that took the time to donate received various items from the Rays – including flags, yard signs, and more.

8. Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers, who play their home games at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida – close to the Miami area. While the area only received minor damage, the Panthers’ organization and Panthers Foundation felt the need to do their part in helping Hurricane Ian relief efforts. 

On October 6th, the Panthers hosted a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. As part of their efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Ian, they donated 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales for that game to benefit others. Fans were also asked to bring donations. 

7. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning, through The Lightning Foundation, pledged $1 million in support of the Hurricane Ian relief efforts across the country. Not only that, but the team’s owner Jeff Vinik also pledged $1 million, bringing the Lightning’s generous donation to $2 million in total.

The Lightning held donation drives between October 5th and October 8th. They’ll also have collectable items (autographed, game-worn, etc.) fans can bid on at their Oct. 18th game, with proceeds going towards relief efforts. Their 50/50 raffle on October 8th and 18th will also benefit those efforts.

6. Orlando Magic

With Florida sports teams coming together in support of those affected by Hurricane Ian, the Orlando Magic followed suit with a $1 million donation through the DeVos Family Foundation – “Our hearts are with this community, which has long been part of our family,” the team said.

They further explained that $500,000 of those funds will go towards the Hurricane recovery fund, $250,000 will go towards the Florida Disaster Fund, and the remaining $250,000 will go towards future rebuilding efforts. The team called off several practices during the storm.

5. Tom Brady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback, Tom Brady, has called the state of Florida home since leaving the New England Patriots in 2020. He was forced to evacuate his home during the hurricane and has pledged an undisclosed donation to support Hurricane Ian relief efforts. 

“Watching different adversities, whether that was 9/11, whether that was Katrina, sports has an amazing way of healing wounds and bringing people together and bringing communities together and start to cheer for a common interest for the common good,” said Tom Brady.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady wasn’t the only one in the Buccaneers’ organization to donate towards relief efforts. The Glazer family, who owns the Buccaneers, pledged a $1 million donation – which will be allocated to those providing support for anyone affected by the hurricane in the state of Florida.

“The destruction suffered in Southwest Florida and the damage inflicted throughout our state will be felt for some time,” said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. “It will take entire communities resiliently working together for an extended period and our family is committed to aiding in the recovery.”

3. Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons, in partnership with the Buccaneers and Red Cross, put together care packages for kids, families, and community members affected by Hurricane Ian. The kits included words of encouragement and other supplies residents are in desperate need of.

The kits were delivered to the World International Church, which is doubling as a shelter for those who had their homes destroyed by the hurricane. The Falcons and Buccaneers played a game on Sunday, but their recent partnership shows that some things are bigger than football. 

2. NFL Foundation

The NFL Foundation came up with a unique way to raise money for the many Hurricane Ian relief efforts happening across the country. They decided to auction off a number of collectable items from the Buccaneers-Chiefs Sunday night game – including game-worn jerseys. 

“The NFL will also be auctioning off a limited number of game-worn jerseys and other unique items which fans can bid on at to support the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Ian relief efforts,” the NFL said in a statement. If you like collectibles, this is a good opportunity!

1. NFL Foundation (Donation)

In addition to the game-worn jerseys and other items that were auctioned off, the NFL Foundation matched the $1 million donation by the Buccaneers’ organization. These donations go a long way in ensuring community members have the resources they need to rebuild. 

Not only that, but the NFL Shop featured several ‘Florida Strong’ items for the Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Jaguars – all of whom play in the Florida area. Proceeds from the sale of those items are being donated to the Red Cross in support of their Hurricane Ian relief efforts. 

How Can You Support Hurricane Ian Relief? 

With the amount of destruction and devastation left behind, we can expect Hurricane Ian relief efforts to continue for weeks, months, and even years. Millions of people need our help, which is why it’s so important for everyone to help in any way possible – no matter how small or large.

If you’re sitting at home wondering how you can help, there are countless things you can do. For example, most charities and nonprofits have their own relief fund you can donate to – whether it be money or goods. You can also donate to the Florida Disaster Fund by the State of Florida.

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For those that are in the area or are interested in helping out directly, you can help the many families and businesses that are now in the process of cleaning up and rebuilding their community. It’s a long process that won’t be easy, but that’s why we must come together.

15 Ways the Sports Community Has Spoke Up After Robb Elementary School

On May 24, 2022, the Uvalde, Texas community was devastated when an 18-year old active shooter started gunning down innocent students and teachers at Robb Elementary School. The senseless incident comes just 10 days after a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY.

Just moments before arriving at Robb Elementary School, Salvador Rolando Ramos shot his grandmother in the forehead. When he arrived at the school, he began shooting outside before locking himself in a classroom. He killed 19 children aged 9-11 and two teachers in their 40s.

Ramos spent roughly an hour inside the school before being fatally shot by a police officer. It was the third-deadliest mass shooting at an American school – the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 killed 32 people and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting killed 26 people. 

RELATED: Steve Kerr Demands Change After Robb Elementary School Shooting

The Sports World Reacts to the Robb Elementary School Shooting

15 Ways the Sports Community Has Spoke Up After Robb Elementary School
Jinitzail Hernandez / Shutterstock

When the news of what happened began to circulate, the sports community wasted no time in getting involved and making their voices heard. Franchises, athletes, coaches, front office members, and fans immediately started to ask questions and demand answers from officials. 

21 innocent lives were lost at Robb Elementary School and it comes just 10 days after 10 innocent lives were lost in a Buffalo, NY grocery store. It has become commonplace in the United States and it’s unfortunate that we continue to see these acts occur on a regular basis. 

It’s times like this where saying the victims’ names and honoring the lives lost simply isn’t enough. We’re at a point where change is needed, change must be demanded, and change must be viewed as mandatory. If not, innocent lives – including those of children – will be lost. 

It’s a message that many in the sports community have relayed in the past week as the sports community searches for answers and solutions for the victims at Robb Elementary School.

15. Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott isn’t a father, but he plans to be one day. Unfortunately, the Robb Elementary School shooting has made him fearful for the day he finally does become a father – something he expressed in a post-practice press conference. It’s something many young people relate to.

Prescott is the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys – who play roughly five hours from Uvalde, TX. He is entering his seventh year in the NFL, all of which have been spent with the Cowboys. He has a 53-32 record as a starter and has thrown for 143 career touchdowns. 

14. Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith spent four minutes talking about the Robb Elementary School shooting – more specifically the reaction of Steve Kerr, which we’ll get into later. During his well-perceived rant, he called out American politicians and urged America to demand change immediately. 

Stephen A is perhaps the biggest TV personality and journalist in the sports world. Along with Molly Qerim, he’s the face of ESPN’s First Take and makes regular appearances on ESPN’s Sportscenter. When he speaks, the entire sports world listens – albeit for different reasons. 

13. Devon Kennard

While many people were urging politicians to do their part, Devon Kennard turned his attention to the NRA during a rant on Twitter. He called them out for being silent while innocent people are murdered across the country. He urges the NRA to offer solutions or reasonable compromises.

After posting this tweet, Kennard continued by noting it’s “NOT OK” to talk about these shootings for a few days before moving on. He also questions why it’s easier to buy a gun in this country than it is to get a passport or driver’s license – something that confuses us to this day.. 

12. JJ Watt

JJ Watt was a huge part of the Texas community for a majority of his pro football career. Even though he has moved on from the Houston Texans, his voice still matters in the community and when he speaks, they still listen. He might not have said a lot, but his words were powerful.

Watt spent 10 seasons with the Houston Texans, recording 101.0 sacks and 172 tackles for loss in 128 games. He played seven games for the Arizona Cardinals last season, only notching one sack and five tackles for loss. He enters his second season in Arizona and 12th overall. 

11. Breanna Stewart

Breanna Stewart took to Twitter to voice her support for the victims and their families, adding that ‘enough is enough’ and ‘this is sickening.’ She has also been in heavy support of bringing Brittney Griner home from Russia, tweeting at the White House every day for the past month. 

Stewart was drafted first overall by the Seattle Storm in 2016. She has spent her entire six-year WNBA career with the team, averaging 20.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.6 blocks in 32.6 minutes per game. She’s already a three-time All-Star and one-time MVP.

10. LeBron James

LeBron James took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with school safety, asking ‘when is enough enough?’ He went on to tweet, “There simply has to be change! HAS TO BE!! Praying to the heavens above to all with kids these days in schools,” before retweeting other opinions.

James is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. He has now spent 19 seasons in the NBA, where he has averaged 27.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. He’s a four-time champ, four-time MVP, four-time Finals MVP, and 18-time All-Star. 

9. Miami Heat Ask for Gun Reform

The Miami Heat were one of the many teams to voice their displeasure with gun laws in this country over the past week. Ahead of their Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 matchup against the Boston Celtics, they urged fans to vote in the elections and contact their state senators. 

The Heat went on to lose that Game 5 to go down 3-2 in the series, but fought back to tie the series after a victory in Game 6. They played an intense Game 7 on Sunday that was decided in the final seconds – it ended with the Boston Celtics earning a trip to the 2022 NBA Finals. 

8. Damion Lee

During the Golden State Warriors’ postgame press conference, Damion Lee uttered a single sentence that explains exactly where this nation is at this moment in time. He said, “Like, it’s easier to get a gun than baby formula right now.” Something that shouldn’t be true, but is. 

Lee is in the midst of fifth season in the NBA – fourth with the Warriors. He averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.6 steals in 19.9 minutes per game during the regular season. This is the first year he’s playing in the playoffs, though he hasn’t been as productive as usual.

7. Laurie Hernandez

Laurie Hernandez took to Twitter to voice her outcry and questioned God on how many more times we’ll need to watch the same outcome before change is achieved. She added that the shootings are happening on a weekly basis, yet we continue to just sit around and watch it all.

Hernandez is an Olympic gymnast that represented the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She was a member of the coveted ‘Final Five’ that won gold in the team event and also won a silver medal in the balance beam. She also appeared in Dancing With the Stars. 

6. Cheryl Reeve

In a pregame press conference on May 24th, Cheryl Reeve asked the question we’ve all been asking ourselves – ‘how many more?’ She adds that it’s nonsensical and that it’s not becoming a matter of ‘if’ it’s going to happen, but ‘when’ is it going to happen to her own children. 

Reeve is currently the head coach and general manager of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. The team went on to win that Tuesday night matchup against the New York Liberty, but are currently 2-7 on the season and have the worst record in the Western Conference – second worst overall.

5. Moment of Silences

As NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, and NCAA games continued on Tuesday and in the days following, teams held a moment of silence to remember the lives lost in the Robb Elementary School shooting. It is something that has become commonplace when tragedies happen worldwide. 

From the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks to the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, and much more – the sports community was in complete unison.

4. New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays

Among those that held a moment of silence were the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. On May 26th, the two teams had their first meeting of the season and decided to do more than a silent moment. Instead of posting highlights during the game, they posted gun violence stats.

Many people tune into the Yankees’ and Rays’ social media accounts to view highlights as the game goes on, so it was the perfect moment to use their stage for good. The Yankees ended up winning the game 7-2, but they split the four-game series and have 15 more against them.

3. TNT’s Inside the NBA Crew

TNT’s Inside the NBA crew – which consists of Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson Jr., Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley – is one of the highlights of watching the NBA on TNT. Whether it’s their pregame banter, halftime antics, or postgame jokes, they know how to keep us entertained.

While they have a lot of fun on set, they know when to tone it down and know when to get serious. That’s exactly what they did ahead of the Game 4 matchup between the Mavericks and Warriors. In fact, they spent a whole 11 minutes talking about the subject as only they can. 

2. Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler is one of the few figures in the sports community to take a hard stance amid the news of the Robb Elementary School shooting. Citing his displeasure with the direction of this country, he doesn’t plan on coming out for the national anthem until he sees sustained change.

Kapler is the current manager of the San Francisco Giants and has a 323-270 career record as a manager. He also spent 12 years in the league as an outfielder, hitting 82 home runs and winning the 2004 World Series with the Boston Red Sox. He won Manager of the Year in 2021.

1. Steve Kerr

Perhaps the most talked-about reaction to the Robb Elementary School shooting was Steve Kerr – who made his voice heard ahead of the Golden State Warriors’ Game 4 matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. He was visibly emotional and distraught throughout the entire speech. 

Kerr has been the head coach of the Warriors for the past eight seasons. During that time, his team has made it to the NBA Finals six times and won the NBA Championship three times. He has a chance to lead his team to a fourth title this season, but the Celtics stand in their way.

Change is Mandatory After the Robb Elementary School Shooting

The Uvalde, TX community is hurting right now as parents across the country grow more concerned about their children’s safety at school – of all places. It’s not just a problem in schools, though – it’s a problem in grocery stores, churches, movie theaters, and more. 

These incidents are going to continue happening unless we start demanding and enacting real change. We must demand our government enact sensible gun laws and take the necessary gun control measures to reduce these senseless acts of violence against our most vulnerable. 

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Of course, we should also keep the victims and their families in our prayers and help them overcome this tragic event in any way possible. Donations, kind words, and volunteering can go a long way, but it must be met with real action and real change. If not, more people will die.

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