It's no question that in 2018, our sports teams should not carry names or logos with racist undertones. In fact, it's quite astonishing that our country is still having this debate. Still, the Cleveland Indians took a step in the right direction last month by announcing that they will be removing the Chief Wahoo logo from their uniforms.
The caricature of a Native American has been the Indians' logo since 1948 and has been the subject of fierce debate in recent years, much like the Washington Redskins name and logo. Many groups across the Americas have lobbied the MLB team to renounce the logo, but failed. Until now. This year, Rob Manfred, commissioner of baseball has convinced the club to abandon the logo.
Of course, the name is just as offensive as the logo and will remain, for now. However, we must acknowledge and applaud this small step towards diversity and inclusion.
For the first time ever, the NBA selected its All-Star teams based on a draft. The top vote getters in each conference were named captain and they’ll be able to select their team to play with during the All-Star game. Another first is that All-Star game teams will donate money to two community organizations selected by the team captains. The league will make a $350,000 donation on behalf of the winning team, while the losing team will select a similar charity to receive $150,000.
According to the National Basketball Association, “In addition to a full schedule of community events that will take place during All-Star, Team LeBron and Team Stephen will choose a local or national organization to play for, with the donations directed toward outreach efforts in Los Angeles.
While these changes in the format were made to spice up the competition and provide value for the fans, this will also provide immense impact to the local communities. Integrating philanthropy into the All-Star format ensures that it is front and center during the biggest moment of the NBA season. There will be ongoing buzz leading up to the All-Star weekend and throughout the game, which will raise awareness and funds for very worthy organizations. This is an authentic way to weave charitable actions into the action on the court. To those that follow the NBA, this should come as no surprise as they are one of the most innovative leaders when it comes to activism, social impact, and community work. It is a part of the league’s DNA, and by integrating it within one of the league’s crown jewels, this shows that philanthropy is a key objective for the NBA.
The Super Bowl is the crown jewel for the NFL. Thousands of fans were in Minnesota at the game, enjoying the festivities, and millions more watched the game at home. It’s the single largest game in sports, so much so, that an entire week has been built surrounding the game. As the Super Bowl has grown in popularity, so have the events throughout the week and the impact made in the community. Below is a list of all #SportsDoingGood events in conjunction with the Super Bowl:
Thursday, February 1: Legends for Charity
During each year’s dinner, the Pat Summerall Award is presented to someone who has made a significant contribution in the sports field. This year’s award winner was Tony Dungy, NFL Hall of Famer, historic coach and analyst on NBC’s Football Night in America. All of the money raised throughout the night goes directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Friday, February 2: Super Bowl Town Hall
NFL players and executive participated in panel discussions to review lessons learned from the activist athlete this season with a focus on what’s coming next. RISE released a report on athlete activism in 2017 and also provided best practices moving forward.
Saturday, February 3: 2018 Super Bowl Breakfast
According to the NFL, The Super Bowl Breakfast started in 1988 and recognizes the presentation of the Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award to the NFL player, voted on by his peers, for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.
Saturday, February: Frosty Fat Tire Festival
This is a pre-Super Bowl event aimed at raising $40,000 for families in need in the community. Join employees from UnitedHealth Group, UnitedHealthcare and Optum at the 2nd annual UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Festival (UHCCF) fundraiser. The festival features 50 fat tire circuit bike riders who ride around a ½-mile circuit as many times as possible to raise dollars that fund medical grants that help children gain access to health-care related services. All funds go towards helping the mission of UHCCF.
Minnesota – Legacy Fund
In addition, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee created the Minnesota Super Bowl Legacy Fund. Over the course of a year, the Legacy Fund provided 52 grants, one each to a community in Minnesota that is committed to improving the health and wellness of the state’s children. Highlights of the Legacy Fund include:
Super Snack Challenge
The Legacy Fund asked young people ages 8-14 to participate in the Super Snack Challenge, where children submitted a recipe with their favorite healthy gameday snack. 52 winners were selected and had the chance to attend the Kids Tailgate Party during the Super Bowl festival.
Ten “All-Pro Chefs” were honored at the tailgate, and one lucky winner received a $25,000 to donate to the charity of his/her choice.
Super School Breakfast
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s Super School Breakfast worked in conjunction with the NFL’s Play 60 Breakfast-in-the-Classroom initiative in the school systems. The hope is that the Legacy Fund’s collaboration with Play 60, Midwest Dairy Council, GENYOUTH along with others, will provide access to healthy, nutritious food that will give children a productive start and help them power through a healthy and active day.