What are they waiting for? Sports industry missing from Sandy recovery

Published On October 31, 2012 | By Meredith Perri

The photos are everywhere. Twitter. TV. Facebook. Newspapers.

The devastation that Hurricane Sandy created is immense. Now, a few days removed from the howling winds and floods, as people continue to seek shelter and hope for power, the time has come for people to help rebuild.

Social media has changed the typical timeline of helping in a horrific situation like this. People can see the constant updates; they can see those impacted; they can get involved more quickly.

Yet, as people find out what has happened to their homes, to all of their belongings and their lives, one of the major industries in this country has remained almost completely mute on the subject – the sports industry.

Go ahead and Google “Hurricane Sandy” and “Sports” in the same line. I can tell you what you will find: pages of how Frankenstorm impacted a team because it changed its schedule, how the MLB blamed Sandy for a leak of the new Astros logo.

Now head over to Twitter. As of 10 o’clock Wednesday morning, out of every Major League Baseball team, only one had tweeted a link to bring in donations for the relief effort: the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners are quite possibly one of the farthest teams from where the storm hit, yet they sent out asking for people to donate blood and gave a link to donate funds directly to the relief effort for Hurricane Sandy.

“The entire Seattle Mariners organization sends thoughts a [sic] prayers to those affected by Tropical Storm Sandy and the first responders who are working so hard to assist the many people in need,” the page read.

An expanded search that included teams from the NFL showed that between the two leagues, with the exception of the Mariners, if Hurricane Sandy was recognized on the account, it was in the form of a one or two tweets sending out prayers or thoughts for safety if there was any recognition at all.

Now, I understand that the teams located in the areas affected by Sandy need to rebuild, and I realize that they are far too preoccupied to send out tweets. Nonetheless, there are dozens of teams not in the impacted area that could be helping out right now.

I appreciate their words wishing safety for everyone, but now it is time for action.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Major League baseball launched a relief program in an effort to raise more than $3 million in aid for the victims. The NFL held a Hurricane Relief Weekend in late September holding a telethon for the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund as well as other initiatives.

So where are these plans now?

It took some time to get them started in 2005, and understandably so. But what the people who are hurting from Sandy need right now is not a fancy program. They need the funds and support to get their lives back in order.

With the change in technology over the past seven years, it is incredibly easy for teams to simply tweet out a link like the Mariners. It is quick, and while it seems very simple, it still helps.

We saw the devastation as it was happening this time around, even more so than with Katrina. People were glued to social media, watching as the pictures of a blackened out New York City, a burnt down area of Queens, a flooded New Jersey popped up on their screens.

These teams can start with something simple. Like the Mariners, they can tweet out a link. Maybe they can host a blood drive at their stadiums or collect food to send to the impacted areas.

There has to be some way that the sports world could be working right now. So what are they waiting for? We know at some point they will do something, so why the hold up?

They bring communities together with every game, now it is time for them to once again bring these communities together for a bigger cause – to help heal.

If you would like to make a donation to the American Red Cross for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, click this link.


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About The Author

Meredith is a junior journalism student at Boston University. She has covered nearly every sport for The Daily Free Press, BU’s independent student newspaper, but mainly writes about women’s hockey. Meredith has also covered Major League Baseball as an intern with SNY and MetsBlog.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mere579.