- Athletes and teams in the U.S. are donating thousands to pay arena employees who are being financially impacted by the NBA, MLB, and other sport season suspensions.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma and Dell Technologies billionaire Michael Dell offered the U.S. medical supplies and technical infrastructure support.
- As cases of COVID-19 surge across the globe, China is beginning to recover and is easing up on drastic restrictions.
- Viral video shows Wuhan doctors celebrating the closure of the city’s last temporary hospital.
Amid all of the panic surrounding the spreading coronavirus, many big names are offering financial support to those in need.
The suspension of the NBA season, for instance, isn’t just affecting million dollar players and fans. It’s having a huge impact on thousands of employees in basketball arenas across the nation.
Last week, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love committed to giving $100,000 through his non-profit to help support the Cavaliers’ arena and staff. Soon after, other players followed his lead, like Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokoump.
Antetokoumpo tweeted, “It’s bigger than basketball! And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier. Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together!”
Zion Williamson, a forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, said on Instagram that he was paying the salaries of Smoothie King Center employees for the next 30 days.“This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis,” he wrote.
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The people of New Orleans have been incredibly welcoming and supportive since I was Drafted by the Pels last June, and some of the most special people I have met are those who work at smoothie King Center. These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. Unfortunately, many of them are still recovering from long term challenges created by Katrina, and now face the economic impact of the postponement of games because of the virus. My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days. This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis. This is an incredibly resilient city full of some of the most resilient people, but sometimes providing a little extra assistance can make things a little easier for the community.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who first brought up pay issues right as the season was suspended, said the Mavericks would pay event staff during the hiatus. The Golden State Warriors took it a step further, with franchise owners, players, and coaches promising to contribute $1 million for Chase Center employees. After all of these generous announcements, more teams made commitments to help arena staff, including the Atlanta Hawks, the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, LA Lakers and Clippers.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert even promised assistance of his own after apologizing for not taking the virus seriously. Gobert prompted the NBA shut down when he tested positive for the virus after joking touching microphones at a press conference and reportedly acting “careless” around other players.
In an effort to make things right, he encouraged people to use his story as a lesson and is donating $200,000 to the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena. On top of that, he’s giving $100,000 each to assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and Oklahoma City, plus 100,000 euros for his native country of France.
And this isn’t just happening in the NBA, Major League Baseball stars have been donating funds for their workers, including Astros players George Springer and Alex Bregman. A few National Hockey League teams have also reportedly been working on plans to reimburse workers for lost wages.
Medical and Technological Support
The donations have eased some employees, allowing them to find comfort in knowing that they will still have an income during this stressful time. But it’s not just employee’s impacted by closures who are seeing support.
Others are focusing on medical necessities, like Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma. Ma is donating 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million protective face masks to the U.S., saying that from his own country’s experience, “speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus.”
The Chinese billionaire has already offered similar supplies for areas like Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran, and Spain, and others. According to tweets from the Jack Ma Foundation, the first U.S. shipment is already on its way.
Tech billionaire Michael Dell also explained how Dell Technologies was helping fight the coronavirus worldwide. Dell said the company has made a donation of two million yuan ($284,000 USD) to fund needed materials in China including surgical masks, protective clothing and eye protectors for local hospitals.
Along with technical infrastructure support for the CDC in China, the company also set aside $3 million USD in funds and in-kind technology to help meet the needs of organizations working to treat and contain COVID-19.
Dell has also agreed to match employee donations to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund up to $10,000 per employee.
Many are celebrating all of these moves, which show a stark contrast in leadership in comparison to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who reportedly recommended that employees ‘donate’ PTO to one another amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Cases Ease Up in China
In an effort to remind people that this outbreak will pass, many internet users have been celebrating the progress being made in Wuhan China, where the virus first broke out.
While people across the globe have been forced to stay inside, healthcare professionals have been working tirelessly to help thousands of people who have fallen ill, putting themselves at risk.
In a viral video, medical workers in Wuhan took their face masks off to reveal smiles as they celebrated the closing of the last temporary hospital. Last month, China quickly built more than a dozen temporary medical facilities last month, including two in Wuhan that proved more than 2,000 more beds to accommodate the overflow of patients in the city.
As of Monday, China has reported nearly 81,000 cases, with more than 67,000 patients who have recovered and about 3,000 who have died. But the country’s quarantine measures and have drastically reduced their number of daily cases and China has now begun easing local travel restrictions in an effort to get thousands of people back to work.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (Business Insider) (Independent)
Lil Nas X Starts Bail Project Fund After Releasing Prison-Set Video for “Industry Baby”
The singer said he is working to address “the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community.“
Lil Nas X Starts Bail X Fund
Following the release of his latest single “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched a partnership with The Bail Project that aims to cover bail funds for people across the country.
The music video for the song took place in the fictional “Montero State Prison,” a reference to the title of his upcoming album and the singer’s real name. While Lil Nas X spent much of his time online promoting the video with memes, he put a pause on the jokes Saturday to announce the Bail X Fund and bring attention to issues regarding incarceration in the United States.
“On a serious note, I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “And the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community. That’s why I teamed up with @bailproject to create the Bail X Fund.”
The Bail Project aims to eliminate cash bail in the U.S. It has posted over $47 million in free bail for over 17,000 low-income people across the country. It also provides post-release support and services to those who need them.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” Lil Nas X wrote in a statement on the fund’s website. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail.”
The Fight to End Cash Bail
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, like many issues within the criminal justice system, cash bail disproportionately harms Black Americans. The group claims that Black and brown defendants are somewhere between 10% to 25% “more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial or to have to pay money bail.” It also argues that Black men are 50% more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, and says Black and brown defendants generally “receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants – and they are less likely to be able to afford it.”
Lil Nas X said he is “doing something” to address these issues and invited his fans to join him. He hopes that his efforts will encourage other artists to use their platforms to likewise speak about these injustices.
“Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” he wrote. “Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home & let’s fight for freedom and equality.”
A donation tab was attached to the song’s music video, where it says nearly $44,000 has been raised for the Bail X Fund. The video has blown up on YouTube, racking up over 31 million views. It remains the number one trending video in music as of Monday morning.
The song has likewise found success on Spotify, where it debuted at number two and eventually reached the number one spot.
Fire at Home Reportedly Owned by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Under Arson Investigation
Officials said there were no injuries or evacuations during the fire, which was put out in around two hours.
Fire Breaks Out at Famed Couple’s Reported Residence
A Wednesday fire at a historic home in New Orleans, Louisiana believed to be owned by music titans Beyoncé and Jay-Z is being investigated as a possible arson.
On Thursday, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it had received a tip about a suspicious person in the area. Further details about the suspicious person and the cause of the fire have not been revealed.
Neighbors told local media that there is an unlocked gate on the property that outsiders sometimes use to gain entry.
Officials told The New York Post that it took 22 firefighters over two hours to extinguish the blaze, with no reported injuries or evacuations. The extent of the damage currently remains unclear, but a spokesperson told The Post that given the age of the residence, the situation could have been far more severe.
“If [the firefighters] didn’t get there when they did, it could have been much worse,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a historic home.”
About the Home
The building was first built in the Garden District neighborhood of the city in the 1920s as a church. It was later used as a ballet school and then became a high-end residence in 2000. Realtor.com says it is currently valued at $3 million.
The home was purchased in 2015 by Sugarcane Parkin LLC. According to The Washington Post, this company has the same registered address as other entities owned by Beyoncé. Sugarcane Parkin is also allegedly managed by Beyoncé’s mother, Celestine Lawson, better known as Tina Knowles.
Representatives for the “Lemonade” singer and her husband have not issued any public statements about the incident, nor have they confirmed that the home is owned by the couple.
In March of this year, storage units in Los Angeles belonging to Beyonce were burglarized. According to TMZ, over a million dollars of goods were stolen, including expensive dresses and handbags.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post) (NOLA)
Cleveland’s Baseball Team Changes Name From Indians to Guardians
The move marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Name Change Announced
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said Friday that it will change its name after the 2021 season from the Indians to the Guardians.
The team announced the name change with a just over two-minute video narrated by actor Tom Hanks.
“You see, there’s always been a Cleveland — that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the clip. “And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”
This marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Despite long-running calls to change racist and offensive team names — including the Washington Redskins — such campaigns did not gain significant momentum until the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.
Officials behind the Cleveland team first pledged to change the name last year and previously removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms following the 2018 season.
It toyed with several options before ultimately landing on Guardians, which draws from Cleveland’s architectural history.
“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a news release.
“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”
“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14), and Indians (1915-2021).