By Ken Reed

The coronavirus pandemic, the seemingly endless Covid-19 news coverage, and the attitudes and behavior of some of our politicians during this challenging time can certainly be depressing.

However, there is a ton of positive stuff happening right now, if one takes time to look for it. Since our focus at League of Fans is the sports world, we’ll stay with all the good things happening in that area the last several weeks.

Many of the following nuggets come from “The Philanthropy Playbook,” a publication for the sports philanthropy community.

The Philanthropy Playbook, April 2020 edition, leads with the following comment:

“Philanthropy Playmakers has been blown away by the resilience and commitment the sports industry has shown in the midst of this global pandemic.”

We second that thought at League of Fans.

There are many examples.

Sports organizations and athletes have stepped up to help the thousands of workers who depend on sports to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.

Some pro franchises are making a difference by donating their unused arenas for blood and plasma drives.

“Sports teaches us that when we throw aside our differences and work together, we are a force to be reckoned with. Our current health crisis is continuing to showcase the power of sports to uplift communities, even though games aren’t being played,” says this month’s Playbook.

The NBA has taken the lead. League franchises and players have donated more than $38 million to the coronavirus cause and 1.5 million meals for local communities. Add to that the donation announced today by former NBA player and current Chinese Basketball Association star Jeremy Lin. Lin has pledged up to $1 million in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“I will be donating $500,000 to Direct Relief and Feeding America and matching all donations up to an additional $500,000,” wrote Lin for The Players’ Tribune.

“I’ll also be highlighting organizations that are shining a light into the darkness at this time, as well as exploring more ways for us all to get more involved. Open to all ideas!”

Back on March 26th, the NFL and the NFL players association had already donated $35 million to COVID-19 relief efforts. Major League Baseball donated $1 million to emergency food services and another $30 million ($1 million per team) for ballpark workers negatively impacted by the shutdown of the season.

Donations from individual players has pushed those figures much higher.

The heart-warming stories go on and on. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank have each donated $5 million to the cause.

The New England Patriots used their plane to bring 1.4 million N95 masks from China to the United States. The Patriots partnered with the state of Massachusetts to purchase masks for its healthcare workers and purchased another 300,000 masks for New York state.

As Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said, “Our actions and our words speak volumes at this time.” Love donated $100,000 to workers at his home arena in Cleveland, a day after the NBA season was suspended.

Here’s hoping that all of us who love sports and are part of the sports community in some way — no matter how small — can step up to help in the battle against this coronavirus.

One possibility: The Athletes for COVID-19 Response Fund. In addition to money donations, athletes are donating signed memorabilia. All of us can get involved. Anyone donating at least $25 will be entered to win their favorite player’s signed memorabilia.


Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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