In the midst of the turmoil and chaos that Hurricane Maria has wrought upon the island of Puerto Rico, American athletes with a connection to the island have stepped up to try to raise funds and provide some form of relief.
Back in September, Carmelo Anthony and Carlos Beltran, from the NBA and MLB respectively, stepped forward to ease some of the pain. Melo did so by donating $50,000 via his YouCaring campaign.
“Im half Puerto Rican, and Im proud of it,” he said in the essay. “Puerto Ricans are my people. But this is about more than that. Puerto Ricans are our fellow Americans. Puerto Ricans are our fellow man. They need our help.”
Beltran and his wife Jessica contributed to the relief effort by starting off their own fundraiser with a $1 million donation via their CrowdRise campaign.
Former New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada donated $110,000 via YouCaring while St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina showed love by starting a GoFundMe campaign that has raised over $50,000 as of a week ago.
Additionally, veteran Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea requisitioned team owner Mark Cubans private plane to fly down to Puerto Rico with supplies.
“So here’s what Id like to say to anyone reading this story: Every little bit helps,” said Barrea via Sports Illustrated. “Any contacts you have. Any packages you can get to Puerto Rico right now. By mail. By water or boat. It doesnt matter. Donate money to one of the nonprofits working to provide aid. Its all appreciated.”
As is the case with many other off the field endeavors, Americas professional athletes have shown the caring and desire to dedicate their time and compassion in ways that even the federal government has been unable or unwilling to do.
This is not a shot at the complacency and incompetence that has prolonged the suffering of the people of Puerto Rico, an island of more than 3 million American citizens, but about those that married empathy with action in a time of great suffering.