This Week in Sports: Athletes Are Using Their Influence to Make a Difference

The world is having quite a surreal moment right now, with the coronavirus outbreak keeping an overwhelming number of people around the world both stuck at home and constantly on their toes at the same time. It’s a time when people need a little distraction more than ever – but unfortunately, they can’t turn to sports.

In an effort to reduce physical contact and potential exposure, the entire world of sports has been put on pause. But that hasn’t stopped plenty of athletes from staying busy.

With so many resources, fans and followers, professionals athletes – on the individual and team-levels – have decided to take advantage of this time to shine in new ways off of the court and field. The diverse and creative ways that they’ve been making an impact have been truly inspirational.

Here are the 5 best social contributions from athletes and sports professionals in the last week in March:

5. Green Bay Packers dining staff turns their efforts towards community & health care workers

This Week in Sports: Athletes Are Using Their Influence to Make a Difference

The Green Bay Packers have reallocated their dining staff to the community, where the crew has so far helped by making:

400 meals per week for students at local school districts 1,000 meals per week for staff at local healthcare facilities 5,000 protein bars and 3,500 protein shakes for local school students Food pantry and shelter meals and non-perishable items supply

And, beyond all of this: $1.5 million in community relief fund.

4. Steph Curry, Simone Biles, Rob Gronkowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. & more are donating sports gear

These athletes along with many others are signing gear to be purchased by those with the means at auctions raising money for COVID-19 relief. Anyone can enter the auctions and be eligible to win by donating $25 (dollars – not millions!).

3. Steve Ballmer donated $25M+

Steve Ballmer, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and his wife Connie have donated more than $25 million to relief efforts in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Michigan. The University of Washington Medicine’s Emergency Response Fund will receive $10 million specifically, going toward more testing at a faster rate and working towards a potential vaccine.

2. Carlos Correa donated $500k in medical equipment

Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa took to Instagram to share his generous contribution of $500,000 in medical equipment, including IV poles, rehab machines, surgical equipment, and much more, being provided to Houston area hospitals. He himself was inspired by other athletes, and will hopefully inspire even more!

1. Brees family donates $5M

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, announced a $5 million donation on March 26 to coronavirus relief in Louisiana.

The couple is partnering with food banks, health systems, eateries and delivery companies to provide 10,000 meals per day for those in need “for as long as it takes.”

The Football World Mourns the Loss of the Legendary Diego Maradona

November 25th, 2020, is a date that will forever mark football as the Argentinian icon, Diego Armando Maradona, aged 60, passed away. He suffered a heart attack at home just two weeks after being released from hospital following surgery for a bleed on his brain.

10 Jun 1986: Diego Maradona of Argentina gets up from the pitch during the World Cup match against Bulgaria at the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. Argentina won the match 2-0.

Born on October 30th, 1960, in Lanús, Buenos Aires Province to a poor family, Maradona was the fifth of seven siblings and the oldest son. He started showing his talents at a very young age and was quickly spotted by a talent scout while playing in his neighborhood club, Estrella Roja. He was transferred to Argentinos Juniors junior team where he continued his amazing performances, which earned him his nickname “El Pibe de Oro” (“The Golden Boy”).

Diego Maradona - 14.03.1980 - Racing Club / Argentinos Juniors - Championnats d'Argentine

Ten days before his 16th birthday, Maradona made his professional debut for Argentinos Juniors in a match against Talleres de Córdoba. He played with the number 16 on his back, and became the youngest player in the history of Argentine top-tier football. He spent five years at the club before transferring to Boca Juniors, one of Argentina’s and South America’s most popular and successful football clubs.

Maradona, Napoli’s Mythical Number 10

After a single season with Boca, he moved to Europe to play for Spanish giants, Barcelona. Maradona had a difficult tenure in Spain due to injuries and controversial incidents on the field. Two years later, he was transferred to the Italian club Napoli where he was welcomed by 75,000 fans at his presentation. It is with this team that “The Golden Boy” achieved his greatest success at club level, winning two Scudettos, a Coppa Italia, a Supercoppa Italia, and the UEFA Cup in 1989. His vision, passing, ball control, and dribbling enchanted the Napoli fans who continue to adore and love him to this day. Maradona became Naple’s favorite son!

Diego Maradona on the field

The Architect of Argentina’s Second World Cup

Maradona’s greatest achievement came during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He captained his team to victory, playing every minute of every game, scoring five goals, and making five assists. The quarterfinal against England will forever be part of football’s folklore. The Argentinian legend scored both goals. The first by using his hand, which remained unnoticed by the game officials, and later became known as the “Hand of God”. The second, however, was a display of his mastery and talent. He took the ball in his own half, dribbled past six English players, including the goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, before slotting the ball into the net. The goal was recognized as the “Goal of the Century” in 2002.

June 29, 1986 file photo, Diego Maradona of Argentina, is lifted up as he holds the World Cup trophy after Argentina defeated West Germany 3-2 in the World Cup soccer final in the Atzeca Stadium, in Mexico City.

The passing of Maradona affected greatly every football aficionado in the world. It made his country fall in tears while President Alberto Fernández announced three days of national mourning. Napoli decided to honor its greatest player by renaming its stadium after him. On November 25, 2020, football lost arguably its most-talented number 10!