Pro sports contribute to victim relief funds

Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2001

Major league baseball and its players association contributed $5 million each on Wednesday to establish a relief fund to aid victims of last week's terrorism.

The MLB-MLBPA Disaster Relief Fund will distribute money after consulting with governmental and charitable relief organizations.

Many baseball teams and players are making separate contributions, along with the NFL, NBA, NHL and NASCAR.

The New York Mets said manager Bobby Valentine, his coaching staff and the 34 players on the team's active roster would contribute their salaries from Friday's game against the Atlanta Braves to the New York Police & Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. The donation will be about $450,000.

Cincinnati players and coaches are donating $250,000 to the Heroes' Fund, established to help families of the New York firefighters, police officers and Port Authority employees killed in the attacks. Colorado players donated nearly $60,000, which, with matching funds, is expected to total about $144,000.

The NBA is contributing more than $1 million, along with supplies and office space. The NFL is about to make a ''major financial contribution,'' league spokesman Greg Aiello said.

NHL teams have raised a total of more than $1.3 million for disaster relief funds and the NHL Players Association donated $500,000 to help families of New York City firefighters and police officers.

NASCAR is pledging its help through a variety of paint schemes and donations. A combined 37 Winston Cup and Busch series drivers informed NASCAR of special patriotic paint schemes they will have on their cars this weekend in Dover, Del. In addition, 12 drivers have joined Rusty Wallace and Jeremy Mayfield's call to donate money for every lap they complete this weekend.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced a $1 million donation to the World Trade Center relief effort.

''New York City is home to the U.S. Open,'' said Merv Heller, president of the USTA. ''We have worked very closely with New York Police, Fire, EMS and other city agencies and over the years have seen their tireless efforts and dedication firsthand.''

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