SBD/Issue 85/Sports & Society

Sports Leagues, Teams Helping Contribute To Haiti Relief Efforts

The NFL "plans to promote relief efforts in Haiti by having messages about the Red Cross's donation line aired during the television broadcasts of this weekend's four playoff games," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. NFL officials indicated that Commissioner Roger Goodell "directed the league office to work with CBS and Fox, the TV networks carrying this weekend's games, to provide messages to viewers before and during games about the Red Cross's text-to-give line to aid relief efforts in Haiti after this week's devastating earthquake there." NFL officials said that the league has also "contacted ESPN and the league-owned NFL Network about running similar messages during their pregame shows this weekend." The league is filming a PSA "featuring several NFL players that is to air during this weekend's games to further promote relief efforts." Officials said that there will be "video-board messages and public address announcements at the stadiums at all four games." NFL research indicated that "about two dozen NFL players were either born in Haiti or are first-generation Haitian-Americans" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/14).

Watch Dalembert's PSA For Haiti Relief

PERSONALLY GETTING INVOLVED: 76ers C Samuel Dalembert, a native of Haiti, will present $100,000 to UNICEF prior to Friday's game against the Kings at Wachovia Center to help aid in relief efforts. Dalembert also has pledged to match the amount of money donated by 76ers fans at the UNICEF table on the concourse during Friday’s game. Dalembert is currently the only active Haitian player in the NBA. He appears in a PSA that debuted Thursday night on TNT asking for assistance. Dalembert has appeared on several television shows in recent days to solicit support, including ESPN's "SportsCenter," CNN's "Larry King Live" and MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show." Wizards F Mike Miller also has filmed a PSA that will be posted on Wizards.com Friday and will air in Verizon Center beginning Saturday. Meanwhile, NBA D-League Utah Flash Owner Brandt Andersen is travelling to Haiti this weekend along with 10 doctors on an approximately week-long trip to provide supplies to victims of the earthquake (THE DAILY).

NBA CARES: Several NBA teams are launching Haiti relief efforts. In Orlando, Josh Robbins reported the NBA and the Magic are "lending their support" to relief efforts in Haiti. NBA Cares has "created a link on its Web site to encourage people to donate to UNICEF." The Magic "have done the same on their Web site." Some NBA players have even "used their Twitter pages to encourage people to donate" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 1/14). The Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena have launched an emergency relief drive to help provide essentials to victims in Haiti. Each person who makes a donation at the AmericanAirlines Arena drop-off location will receive a voucher for two tickets to select Heat home games in February (Heat). In Chicago, K.C. Johnson reports the Bulls have "teamed with UNICEF to aid relief efforts in Haiti." Donations "will be collected during Friday's game and a relief drive gathering essentials will be conducted during" the February 2 game against the Clippers (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/15).

MLB, NHL DOING THEIR PART: MLB Thursday pledged an immediate donation of $1M to benefit earthquake victims in Haiti. The donation, coordinated through UNICEF, is being made on behalf of MLB, its 30 clubs, MLB Network and MLB.com. In addition to the donation, MLB Net will air PSAs encouraging fans to donate toward Haitian relief efforts. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, "I reminded the owners today that we remain a social institution, and are privileged to be in that position." Meanwhile, the NHL Thursday also donated $100,000 to UNICEF in support of relief efforts (THE DAILY).

OTHERS CHIPPING IN: The Harlem Globetrotters are donating a portion of the gate revenue from the seven games scheduled for the weekend of January 22-24 to UNICEF's relief efforts (Globetrotters). Meanwhile, Def Jam Founder Russell Simmons said that Tiger Woods is "considering a $3[M] donation that would send doctors and supplies to Haiti." Simmons and reps from Wyclef Jean's Haitian relief organization Yele have "asked Woods to support the effort" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/15).

SOCCER STAR SAFE: In Utah, Dan Rasmussen reports MLS Real Salt Lake (RSL) officials "received word Thursday morning from Haitian-born midfielder Jean Alexandre that he is alive and safe." The club "didn't receive confirmation that he was OK until he sent an e-mail to them from Argentina Thursday." RSL and KUTV-CBS, along with several other companies around Salt Lake City, will be holding a "telethon fundraiser with the Red Cross" on Friday from 6:00am-7:00pm MT. RSL MF Andy Williams and MF Raphael Cox are "scheduled to participate" (DESERET NEWS, 1/15).

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