SBD/May 23, 2013/Sports in Society

OSU Alums Fowler, Mahan The Latest Athletes To Pitch In For Tornado Relief Efforts

Fowler (r) will match the first $100,000 brought in by the fans for relief efforts
Golfers Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan, who both played collegiately at Oklahoma State Univ., have "announced plans to personally help out with relief efforts" following this week's tornadoes in Oklahoma, according to Will Gray of GOLFCHANNEL.com. Fowler yesterday "explained plans to enhance a donation drive already in place this week" at the PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational. He said, "I'm going to be matching the first $100,000 brought in by spectators. I will be matching that and see if we can get the spectators involved here." Meanwhile, Mahan "plans to make a donation to the Red Cross to help directly with relief efforts" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 5/22). USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio notes this week's tourney will feature "donation stations around the golf course for fans to donate directly to the American Red Cross." Fans who donate will be "given red ribbons to wear in support." Fans on Sunday are "encouraged to wear red to show consolidated support for those affected by the storms." Golfers John Peterson, Justin Bolli, Casey Wittenberg, Nicholas Thompson and Stuart Appleby each "plan to donate $100 for every birdie and $500 for every eagle each makes this week to the American Red Cross relief effort." The five are "managed by Blue Giraffe Sports, which will match their donations" (USA TODAY, 5/23).

STEPPING UP, PITCHING IN: Rams QB and Univ. of Oklahoma alum Sam Bradford yesterday announced that he is creating the #STL4OKC fundraising drive, "seeking goods and financial support for Oklahoma disaster victims." In St. Louis, Nicholas Pistor noted Bradford has "partnered with marketing and event production company Switch + Contemporary" to lead the effort. He is "seeking donations, including cleaning supplies, baby items, pet supplies, and blankets." A donation site has been set up at Busch Stadium for tonight's EPL Manchester City-Chelsea exhibition game (STLTODAY.com, 5/22). The Big 12 Conference yesterday announced a $200,000 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Meanwhile, Kansas, TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and OU baseball players were "spotted out donating goods to the victims and all teams will wear a helmet decal to honor Oklahoma this weekend" (OKLAHOMAN, 5/23). Colts Owner Jim Irsay has "pledged to donate up to $25,000 to the tornado relief effort in Moore, Oklahoma, matching contributions made by the general public" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 5/22). The Predators today will host a benefit event at Bridgestone Arena (Predators).

SPECIAL VISITOR: In Oklahoma City, Darnell Mayberry notes Thunder F Kevin Durant yesterday, one day after donating $1M to the relief effort, "traveled back to Oklahoma to give his time." Durant "shook hands and gave hugs," and "posed for pictures and signed autographs." Mayberry writes, "Not once did Durant turn down a request, graciously scribbling his signature on anything he was handed." Durant for roughly an hour "helped take these residents' minds off the destruction as he toured their neighborhood." Kevin Durant Family Foundation President Emmanuel Bailey said, "What he immediately said to everyone around him is ‘We got to do something.' And so he, on his own, decided that he wanted to give $1 million. And, really, that was designed to motivate others to give. I think we're up to about $7.5 million now as a result of Mr. Durant's gift." Durant said that "giving his time was a direct reflection of how the Thunder is a part of the community." Durant: "We're not just here to play basketball. We really are embedded in the community. And it's good to see them smile" (OKLAHOMAN, 5/23).
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