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Step up

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to step up right now. There are plenty of ways—big and small—we all can help. 

Here are some more ways you can take action now:

Organizers at Philly We Rise created a mutual aid survey where you can offer services—like prescription pick-up, grocery delivery, transportation and direct monetary donation—to your neighbors.

Kleinlife, which operates in North Philadelphia, is asking for drivers willing to deliver home meals to their over 600 elderly clients within the community for the next two weeks. Those interested can email jeskate@kleinlife.org for more information.

Project HOME is asking Philadelphians to check out their in-kind needs here, and is in particular need of bottled water; toiletries like soap, lotion, shampoo, deodorant, Clorox wipes, and any hand sanitizer you can get your hands on; hygiene items like clean underwear and socks; as well as non-perishable food.

Can you offer to help a healthcare worker with childcare? Do you need care for you kids? Learn more here.

For (many many) more ways to help or get support:

 

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Watch sports during coronavirus

CBS Sports put together this great list of sports documentaries to watch while we’re currently deprived. 

Plus, a compilation of the top plays in Philadelphia pro sports from 2000-2018:

In a world without sports, players step up

It’s been 28 days since the NBA season was suspended. 672 hours since the last tipoff. Soon after March 11, the NHL season was also suspended. Then MLB Opening Day was postponed. NCAA canceled its March Madness tournament. And now, the Tokyo Olympics are pushed to 2021.

Do SomethingIf you’re not a sports fan, this means very little to you. But to those of us who care if a ball is in or out of bounds, the loss is profound. Sports is a fabric of daily life for millions of Americans.

The spectacle and the scale make it extraordinary. But the consistency makes it ordinary.

This combination makes sporting events an exquisite venue for communal healing. Think of George W. Bush’s opening pitch at Yankee Stadium after 9/11. Think of rival stadiums singing the Boston’s team anthem, “Sweet Caroline,” after the Boston Marathon bombing.

But in the wake of Covid-19, sports have been suspended. And In the face of this pandemic, it’s not the teams, but the players themselves who have been leading the way in embracing their role as cultural leaders.

Here, we round up the contributions made by our local athletes, and celebrate the impact these players have chosen to make off the field.

RELATED: How YOU can help during the coronavirus pandemic

Eagles ???? Ertz starts a trend

  • On March 20, Eagles tight end Zach and soccer superstar Julie Ertz donated $100,000 to Philabundance. The Ertz play was the first domino for other Eagles teammates. The next day, Eagles center (and Citizen columnist) Jason and Kylie Kelce donated $100,000 to Philabundance. And two days later, Connor and Laura Barwin, former Eagles linebacker and new front-office assistant (and Citizen columnist, too!), donated $25,000.
  • In other Eagles news, Safety Rodney McLeod is looking to fill the Malcolm Jenkins-sized hole in our hearts by donating $25,000 to support the School District’s Grab and Go Campaign, and Carson Wentz’s A01 Foundation allocated $100,000 to a new “Love from the Crumb” initiative in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

76ers ???? Embiid rights a wrong

    • On March 24, news broke that the Sixers organization would ask salaried employees to accept reductions of up to 20 percent. Later that day, 76ers center Joel Embiid pledged $500,000 to Covid-19 medical relief, and promised to help Sixers employees affected by these pay cuts. The fierce public backlash, along with Embiid’s response, caused the Sixers ownership to rescind their decision the next day. Embiid lauded the reversal, while also updating his Twitter handle to Joel “Do a 180” Embiid.
      • Since this moment, Sixers ownership has been working hard to reverse course, by:
      • Now, the Sixers ability to admit a mistake and demonstrate learnings to make significant contributions to our region’s Covid-19 response should be celebrated. But maybe it’s just me who can’t shake these moves as PR-repair, like an aerosol spray trying to mask a previous odor. Someone should tell Josh Harris about Poo-Pourri, the scent you spray before you go…
      • …Especially because the Fightin’ Phils showed us how to do it, by establishing a $1 million fund for affected game-day employees a week before the Sixers fiasco.

76ers ???? Ben Simmons puts in the time

  • 76ers point guard Ben Simmons has modeled a unique approach to athlete leadership. Instead of donating funds, Simmons has dedicated research to highlight two organizations at the forefront of the Covid-19 response: PHL Covid-19 Response and Philabundance. He launched The Philly Pledge as a platform and social media campaign to direct funding. Mayor Jim Kenney applauded Simmons for “using his influence, voice, resources and compassion,” and for “amplifying the important message to Philadelphians to come together to help Philadelphians in this unprecedented time.” By April 2, The Philly Pledge had generated over 1,700 donations, and raised over $350,000.
  • The Philly Pledge has also become an umbrella for other Philly athletes, including: Flyers captain Claude Giroux, Flyers goalie Carter Hart, Phillies First Baseman Rhys Hoskins, Phillies Right Fielder Bryce Harper, and the aforementioned Sixers ownership. It’s almost like Simmons can see the entire court, and direct ball movement, like some sort of player in a long-forgotten sport.

76ers, Phillies ⚾️ Splitting the bill

  • Two newer Philadelphia stars are contributing to multiple communities. Phillies Right Fielder Bryce Harper and his wife Kayla Harper, “[in] partnership with Direct Relief and Custom HaloThree Square in Las Vegas, and Philabundance in Philadelphia…has committed $500,000 to help those in most immediate need.” (Las Vegas is where the Harpers reside, and Philadelphia is where Harper is in year two of a 13-year contract.) Sixers Forward Al Horford is donating $500,000 in relief aid in his home country of the Dominican Republic, but also in every U.S. region he’s played in, including Michigan (Mustangs), Florida (Gators), Atlanta (Hawks), Boston (Celtics), and Philadelphia (76ers).

Teams Stepping Up

  • One could’ve forgiven Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie for laying low after the postponement of this year’s Eagles Autism Challenge. Instead, Lurie pledged $1 million to establish a new Covid-19 Immunology Defense Fund at Penn Medicine. Perelman School of Medicine Dean J. Larry Jameson said, “This generous support will allow our team to rapidly expand its efforts to learn more about how to treat and prevent Covid-19.” Autism, coronavirus, another Super Bowl ring—watch out, Lurie’s on fire!
  • In addition to all the Sixers contributions, the Flyers announced on April 6 a $250,000 donation to Philabundance.

Players have the fluidity to act quickly, but organizations have the capital for greater impact. Thanks to our players early and effective contributions, teams are now stepping into their role as leaders. Even without games, we applaud the way sports are creating a new forum for communal healing.

And these these athletes have been finding other light ways to keep themselves occupied, and us wholly amused:

  • In his public service announcement for social distancing, Eagles Center Jason Kelce and co-star baby Wyatt finds a way to troll Dallas
  • Eagles Receiver DeSean Jackson competed in a EA Madden Charity Tournament,Read More losing to eventual winner Chargers Safety Derwin James in the second round. For his participation, Jackson earned a $5,000 donation from Electronic Arts and the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choosing.
  • With nothing else to do, 76ers Rookie Guard Matisse Thybulle started a TikTok account, and just like you’d expect from a young person, he’s lit.
  • Speaking of things you’d expect, former Eagles Wide Receiver Terrell Owens joined a social media workout challenge, by referencing his infamous 2004 driveway workout, and issuing a Covid-19 driveway challenge.
  • When not sharing campaigns to save Philly restaurants, Eagles Kicker Jake Elliot is mastering ridiculous home-mini-golf trick shots.
Header: Zach and Julie Ertz, Ertz Family Foundation

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