Sports community reacts to Oklahoma tornadoes

Published On May 21, 2013 | By Sarah Kirkpatrick

The deadly tornadoes that ran through Oklahoma City suburbs Monday afternoon, killing at least 24 people and causing immense destruction, have produced an outpouring of sympathy from members of the sporting community.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant reached out to victims Monday, tweeting, “Praying for the victims of the Tornadoes in OKC these last few days..Everybody stay safe!” Durant announced on Tuesday he will donate $1 million to the Red Cross for tornado relief.

Durant’s teammate, power forward Nick Collison, tweeted Tuesday morning, “Spent much of yesterday watching the news out of Moore. My heart hurts for the people who lost loved ones. Thank you to all who are helping.”

New York Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner attended Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., which was torn apart by the storm.

“My thoughts and prayers are with everyone back home.. I attended one of the schools that was hit.. Wish I was there to help,” Hefner tweeted Monday.

He later tweeted, “Oklahoma is a special place with very special people.. Please keep them in your prayers..”

Hefner also spoke exclusively with MetsBlog about the tragedy. In a candid Q&A, he spoke about growing up in Tornado Alley and what ran through his mind Monday.

“If you live in Oklahoma, if you live in Tornado Alley, there’s going to be tornadoes … It’s just the way it is,” Hefner said. “I love it there. And I guarantee you that the people involved, they’re going to rebuild and love Oklahoma they way they always did.”

Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder and Oklahoma City native Matt Kemp tweeted Monday that for every home run he hits until the All-Star Break, he will donate $1000 to victims of the storm.

Denver Broncos and former New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who is also from Oklahoma City, tweeted late Monday afternoon, “Thoughts and prayers to my hometown OKC. Luckily my family is safe. I have lived in OK a long time. This one might be the worst!”

He later posted tweets encouraging his followers to donate to the Red Cross and other relief efforts.

As they dressed for their game Monday night against the Chicago White Sox, members of the Boston Red Sox kept an eye on television coverage of the destruction.

“It’s a tragedy when you see a natural disaster like that take place, so many innocent people that are certainly affected, if not directly by injury or possibly loss of life,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Farrell, who was a pitcher for Oklahoma State University during his college years and later served as a recruiting coordinator and assistant coach between 1997 and 2001, said that the situation hit close to home.

“Having been through something similar back in 1997 that had probably very similar damage, it’s a scary situation,” he said. “Our thoughts are with all the people affected.”

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About The Author

Sarah is a Seattle native studying journalism at Boston University. She covers track and field, cross country and women’s hockey and is Sports Editor at The Daily Free Press, BU’s independent student newspaper. You can follow her on Twitter at @Kirkpatrick_SJ.