As Puerto Rico begins to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, help has been sent to the island from all over. One group that is using their considerable wealth and platforms to provide relief are athletes, specifically those with ties to the island, whether by birth, by family, or just by friendship. From the baseball field, to the hardwood floors of basketball, to football’s gridiron, athletes from all over are uniting to help Puerto Rico in this most trying of times.
Each league has stepped up in different ways; while MLB has mostly left the fundraising to its players, the NFL will blast in-game messages to raise awareness of the situation. Meanwhile, NBA players have created campaigns and one even went to the island himself to drop of thousands of pounds of supplies for the victims of the Category 4 storm. We’ve compiled the relief efforts from all 3 leagues here, but as always, you can also help by donating to any of the organizations highlighted in our list here.
In the world of basketball, it’s the players leading the way. Carmelo Anthony was the first high-profile NBA player to throw his support behind Puerto Rico; not surprising, given both his history of community involvement and his roots to the island. His relief campaign has raised over $260,000 dollars for Puerto Rico, and Melo is using any chance possible to bring awareness to the situation in his ancestral homeland. The Knicks even pledged $100,000 to his campaign, shortly after he was traded to Oklahoma City.
Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea took a slightly more hands-on approach, as he used the team plane, courtesy of owner Mark Cuban, to fly down to Puerto Rico with supplies for victims of the hurricane; Barea told Sports Illustrated that they brought down “32 generators, 14,000 pounds of water, 10,000 pounds of food and 3,000 pounds of medical supplies,” along with other supplies for everyday living. Not only that, but Barea’s wife and friends will be going back on Friday with a similar set of relief items; the 33-year-old point guard won’t be able to join due to team commitments, but he, like Melo, reinforced that every bit helps.
The New Orleans Pelicans are also chipping in by donating team gear to be sold, with proceeds going to relief funds not just for Puerto Rico, but for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma as well. As the team, formerly known as the Hornets, was forced to relocate to Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina, the cause of relief after storms is one that hits close to home for both the organization and many of its NOLA-based fans.
Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has been at the forefront of the baseball world’s fundraising efforts for Puerto Rico. His Youcaring donations page already matched its goal of $200,000 (it’s currently at over $220,000). Posada’s heartfelt letter in The Players’ Tribune was one of the first pleas for help from the world of sports, coming just a couple of days after Maria made landfall on the island.
Elsewhere, St. Louis Cardinals catcher and Team Rubio star Yadier Molina and his family created a GoFundMe page looking for donations; as of now, they’ve raised over $123,000, although they are far from their goal of $1 million in relief funds. That being said, Molina’s Cardinals teammates have chipped in, including infielder Paul DeJong and pitcher Tyler Lyons.
Finally, Astros outfielder and Puerto Rico legend Carlos Beltrán and his family donated $1 million through their foundation, which also set up a donation page; to date, over 1800 people have donated $262,608 dollars in addition to the Beltrán family pledge.
The NFL announced earlier this week that, in all the hubbub with Trump and his tweets condemning the kneeling protests during the national anthem, the league will dedicate its week 4 games to helping to raise funds and awareness for the plight of Puerto Rico.
According to a press announcement released by the league, there will be messages played throughout this week’s contests, encouraging fans to donate to the Red Cross relief efforts (if you’d rather to more grassroots efforts, you can select one from our list). Three teams–the Miami Dolphins, and the New York Jets and Giants–will also team up with the NFL Foundation to donate $200,000 for relief efforts (previously, the NFL had donated $1,000,000 to Hurricane Irma relief).
The league is also promoting Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso’s Miami & Puerto Rico Relief campaign, which has to date collected over $72,000 in donations. The NFL said that it will match up to $50,000 for Alonso’s campaign.