Tampa Sports Teams, Figures Help Raise Funds To Relocate Confederate Statue
A campaign led by Pro Football HOFer Tony Dungy and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to relocate a confederate monument "topped $180,000 by Thursday afternoon, well past the $140,000 goal," according to a front-page piece by Steve Contorno of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Throughout the day, donations to move the statue "poured in," including up to $50,000 from former AFL Tampa Bay Storm Owner Bob Gries and $5,000 from Dungy. Other contributions came from the Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning, who together "put out a statement that 'this monument does not reflect the values of our community' and that all three teams had 'dedicated funds to assist in moving the statue from the public space' in front of the old Hillsborough County courthouse." Lightning RW J.T. Brown, who is one of around 30 black NHLers, also "gave $1,500" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/18). Brown said, "To be generated in 24 hours, that speaks to the community. To raise that much money in a short time, it is obvious to me that it should be removed" (TAMPABAY.com, 8/17). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes sports are "no longer just a diversion." The cliche "'stick to sports' no longer applies." The paths of sports, politics and civil rights "intersect daily." The Bucs, Lightning and Rays are "more than sports teams." Their aim is to "thrill us with their homers and touchdowns and goals." They are "here to give our community a face, to give us pride, to represent us, to bring us together." And at times, they are "here to lead us." Jones: "Like now." There "will be boycotts." Season tickets will "not be renewed." Some will "never root for them again." It was a "risk for the teams to do what they did." But it "might have been a greater risk for them to do nothing" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/18).