Deion wants all pros to donate $1K to Katrina relief
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Deion Sanders challenged all professional athletes to donate at least $1,000 apiece through payroll deductions to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Flanked by teammates and Louisiana natives Ed Reed and Alan Ricard, Sanders on Friday called for each team in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, as well as other pro sports, to help him reach a goal of $1.5 million to $3 million for the cause.
"The recent devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the aftermath of her wrath, there has been a loss of life, property, finances, homelessness and a multitude of atrocities. The people affected by this disaster is astronomical," Sanders said.
"As citizens of this country, we need to unite to help our brothers and sisters in their time of need. We must all stretch the boundaries of the giving as far as we are able to, knowing we will enrich the lives of others."
On Thursday, Louisiana native Warrick Dunn -- the NFL Man of the Year in 2004 -- made an emotional plea to NFL players to contribute at least $5,000 apiece to relief efforts, saying players have a moral obligation to help. The Falcons running back said the Saints shouldn't have to give, but getting the 53 players on the 31 other teams to donate the $5,000 would boost the relief effort by more than $8.2 million.
The Ravens players also called for fans to donate money, clothing and supplies to the ravaged Gulf Coast.
"Through unity, we can touch thousands," Sanders said. "This is in our own backyard. We feel this. Ed, Alan, feel this. I have friends, relatives that feel this pain. Help in any way you can."
Added Reed, "This is my backyard, this is a city we walked on just last week to play a game we love to play. This is real. Football is something we get to do, basketball, baseball. We're reaching out to other athletes."
Reed and the Ravens were in New Orleans to play the Saints at the Superdome just days before Katrina struck.
Reed's high school jersey was retired at St. Rose, La., in suburban New Orleans a week ago.
"It hurts us to talk about it," Reed said. "We know how bad it is in New Orleans, Alabama and Mississippi. These families don't have things to eat. Me being from down there, I know it's a lot worse than what we see on television. ... People see dead bodies around. It's horrific."
Reed, last season's NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has established a Web site, www.reedhurricanerelief.com, for people to donate funds to the American Red Cross.
The Ravens organization, which plans to donate $25,000 in addition to the players' efforts, will collect donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina on Sept. 11 when the team opens the season against the Indianapolis Colts.
Reed and Ricard said they have been in contact with family members, but not all of them.
"It hurts your heart to see New Orleans, the place where I'm from, looking like a Third World country," Ricard said.
In other Katrina developments:
• The New Orleans Saints, driven from the Superdome by the hurricane, will play their home opener against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium. It is not clear, however, when the game will be played.
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Friday the game, scheduled for Sept. 18, is being moved to the Giants' home in East Rutherford, N.J. Story
• Tulane hasn't quite figured out how yet, but it is going to play football this season.
Students are being allowed to enroll in "nine of the leading higher education associations," according to a statement from Tulane president Scott Cowen. That means the school's athletes will also be able to play sports this fall. Story
• ESPN.com's Andy Katz is reporting that the entire Tulane athletic department could call Texas home. A decision is expected by the end of Labor Day weekend. Story
The brothers will leave from Indianapolis on a plane sponsored by the PeyBack Foundation. The flight will be carrying 31,000 pounds of nonperishable items including diapers, baby formula, pillows, water and Gatorade that will be delivered to the American Red Cross.
• Fats Domino and his family spent two days with LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell after being rescued from the floodwaters of the hurricane. The 77-year-old R&B singer and his family are friends with the family of Russell's girlfriend, sports information director Michael Bonnette said. Story
• Several of NASCAR's drivers and teams have set up programs and funds for contributions to the relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Jimmie Johnson and sponsor Lowe's will donate $480 to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts for each of the 250 laps Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet completes on Sunday at California Speedway. In addition, Lowe's will donate $4,800 and Johnson and his wife Chandra will donate $48,000, regardless of the race outcome.
Robby Gordon Motorsports will donate $7 for each lap his No. 7 Chevrolet completes for the remainder of the 2005 Cup season to the Harrah's Employee Recovery Fund, which sponsor Harrah's Entertainment established to assist its employees experiencing the after-affects of the tragedy. Additionally, the team will donate 10 percent to the fund from its merchandise sales for the rest of the season.
Penske Racing South also has started a hurricane relief fund within its headquarters in Mooresville, N.C. The team will gather monetary donations throughout the next two weeks with all proceeds being sent to the American Red Cross. Penske Corp. headed by team owner Roger Penske, has said it will make a matching donation.
• The thoroughbred meet at Fair Grounds in New Orleans that had been set to begin in November was canceled while racing officials try to locate hundreds of displaced employees.
Churchill Downs, which bought the Fair Grounds in October, has been trying to account for 500 employees and survey the damage at the track near downtown New Orleans, Churchill president Thomas Meeker said.
The meet, scheduled to run from Thanksgiving Day through March, could be held at another track near Shreveport in northern Louisiana, Meeker said.
• The Sun Belt Conference is temporarily moving its offices from hurricane-ravaged New Orleans to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
The conference's offices are located on the 23rd floor of the Pan American Life building, not far from the Superdome. Flooding in the area has made the building inaccessible, and it has also sustained some wind damage, commissioner Wright Waters said. The league office should be up and running by Wednesday.
• The sister of Central Florida's Javid James, who was out of contact with her family for several days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, was found safe in Tennessee.
Tahirah James, 18, had not been heard from since the storm made landfall Monday. The story received national exposure during Thursday night's UCF season opener at South Carolina, when James spoke to ESPN and pleaded for information on his sister's whereabouts.
• Jockeys at Del Mar will take a plunge to raise money for victims. Virtually the entire jockey colony volunteered to be dunk-tank targets Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the track near San Diego.
For $10, fans will get two baseballs and two chances to drop the jockeys into a tub of water, and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club agreed to match whatever funds are raised.
• The U.S. Tennis Association canceled the $50,000 men's Challenger event scheduled in Covington, La., the week of Sept. 12. A new USTA men's Challenger event will be scheduled for the week of Oct. 24 at a site to be determined.
• The Houston Texans raised more than $2.5 million with a fund-raising drive during Houston's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday.
• Sheila Johnson, president and managing partner of the Washington Mystics, donated $500,000 to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts.
Mystics guard Temeka Johnson hails from New Orleans and All-Star Alana Beard is from Shreveport, La.
Although Temeka Johnson's home suffered considerable damage, her family members were able to move to a safe location. The Alana Beard Foundation in Shreveport is collecting items for the victims.
• San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos will match all contributions up to $150,000 made by fans at the team's opener against Dallas on Sept. 11.
• Serena Williams, who has already said she'll donate $100 for every ace she hits the rest of the year, is also offering up her U.S. Open earrings. Williams is sporting a pair of $40,000 platinum chandelier earrings with 13 carats of diamonds, and said she and designer Erica Courtney will put them up for auction on the WTA Tour Web site after the Open. "That would be a lot more than the aces," Williams said.
• The NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks announced plans Friday to donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross. Additional money will come from an in-arena action held at the Sparks' playoff game against Sacramento earlier this week and from in-arena auctions held at each Lakers home game during the month of November. Also, the Lakers Youth Foundation will make a $100,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
• The San Diego Padres will hold donation drives on Sept. 7 and 10 at Petco Park. The Padres, along with 14 other clubs hosting games on Sept. 7, will collect funds from fans for the American Red Cross relief effort. Major League Baseball will match what is collected in ballparks that day, up to $1 million.
• The Arizona Diamondbacks will donate all proceeds from tickets purchased for their series against the Milwaukee Brewers later this month to the American Red Cross relief efforts. The Diamondbacks will also conduct a "Pass the Hat" donation campaign that will start with the players and extend to the fans during their game against the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 16.
• The Colorado Rockies said revenue from tickets sold on Sunday for their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers would be donated by the team's foundation to the McCormick Tribune Foundations Hurricane Katrina relief fund. The McCormick Tribune Foundation will match 50 percent of the first $2 million donated to the fund, the team said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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