The Sports World Rallies Behind Hurricane Harvey’s Victims
Hurricane Harvey mercilessly hit the Texas coast with life-threatening winds up to 130 mph that tore up structures and poured down an inescapable amount of rain that led to massive flooding. The Category 3 hurricane, as it moved towards Houston, was downgraded to a Tropical Storm but as it stalled above the city for days, created catastrophic flooding conditions. Though the storm has passed through the city, devastation remains in its wake. Thousands of people have been displaced and left with nothing. The death toll is up to 21 and will surely rise as the water recedes and cleanup efforts ensue. The one bright spot to come out of such a tragic time is seeing how people really came together to try and save as many lives as possible. Neighbors, good samaritans from out of town, city officials, and military personal all chipped in to help.
Houston Rockets center Clint Capela, a native of Geneva, Switzerland, used his social media platform to aid in getting trapped citizens to safety. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Capela told ESPN “I’m from Switzerland, and I’ve never seen this before. So I was just trying to help the people, and I saw that it was working pretty good….Just by spreading the word by Twitter that people need to be rescued, that they’re trapped in their houses, stuff like that.” Capela later went on to say, “I didn’t know that it would be this bad. I was just not prepared for it. I don’t have the ideal tools to go help these people that far [away]. I wish I did. But I did as much as I could do, and I’ll keep doing it. As long as I can do something for this city and help a couple people out, I’ll do it.” Capela’s brand new teammate Chris Paul donated $75,000 to hurricane relief. Capela has been in touch with his teammates and they are in talks to partner with various organizations to help with relief efforts.
The sun is out, but a cloud still hangs over the city as the rebuilding process begins. In the midst of the storm local notable figures from the sports world pledged their support to aid in the rebuilding process. Leslie Alexander, owner of the Houston Rockets, pledged $4 million dollars to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s ‘Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.’ The Rockets issued a statement alongside Alexander’s donation saying, “our hearts are heavy seeing the devastation that so many of our friends, family and neighbors are experiencing.” Alexander later increased his contribution to a generous $10 million dollars. The NBA ad NBPA followed suit in making a contribution by donating $1 million to various organizations, “including the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, American Red Cross, and other non-profit groups working in the Greater Houston area to bring relief to those impacted.”
The ownership group of the Houston Astros have come together to donate $4 million dollars, in addition to allocating all revenue from their series against the Texas Rangers towards hurricane relief efforts. The Rangers have pledged $1 million as well.
The Houston Texans, along with team owner Bob McNair, have donated $1 million, and the NFL Foundation has promised to match the donation amount.
Team member JJ Watt started his own ‘Youcaring’ fundraising campaign on Sunday, opening with a $100,000 donation and a plea for contributions. As of noon Wednesday August 30, 2017, nearly 60,000 people have donated, and Watt has raised $5,835,068 with a goal of $6 million. “It’s not just the money,” Watt explained “It’s the retweeting, it’s the reposting. It’s people talking about it. It’s so special to see, and I can’t thank everybody enough. All I can say, on behalf of the city of Houston, is thank you.”