Childress Gets Tribute Award; Lance Supports Tobacco Ban; Joyner in Tampa

Richard Childress

NASCAR team Owner Richard Childress accepted the North Carolina Motorsports Association’s Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award on Monday at the third annual NCMA industry awards ceremony in Concord, N.C.

Childress was recognized for his accomplishments in motorsports, his compassion and philanthropic efforts off the track, and for his individual integrity and character (NCMA).

Lance Armstrong: The AP’s Jim Vertuno reports that cycing Lance Armstrong scheduled today “to appear at a news conference to release public polling data showing widespread support for a ban on smoking in public places.” The bill “would ban smoking in all public and indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars.”

Armstrong: “This is an issue of people’s rights. Nobody’s saying you can’t smoke a cigarette, but you don’t have to do it around me and my kids” (Jim Vertuno, AP, 1/29). Read the entire AP piece

Seth Joyner: Retired NFL player Seth Joyner, who spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, hosted The Par and Poker Celebrity Challenge for Charity today in Tampa. The event consisted of two parts: an 18-hole golf tournament and a No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker tournament.

The event benefits the Joyner-Walker Foundation, a Phoenix-based charity co-founded by Joyner that is dedicated to providing life skill programs to assist high school and college students in a way to prosper and be self sufficient (Joyner-Walker Foundation).

Photo credit: Richard Childress Racing

Donald Driver Looks Forward to Another Packers Charity Softball Game This Summer

Donald Driver

In Wisconsin, Brett Christopherson notes that Green Bay Packers WR Donald Driver has partnered with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to “host his charitable softball game for the second straight year.” The “popular contest,” which pits Packers offensive players against defensive players, will be played on June 14 at Fox Cities Stadium.

Driver: “”Guys get the opportunity to mingle with the fans that you don’t get to have on Sundays. And I think that’s the thing I’ve always cherished about it, how much guys go out and support the fans and interact with the fans. The guys don’t even care about the game too much. They’re always by the fence signing autographs and doing this and doing that. The fans get the opportunity to see us first hand.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Donald Driver Foundation, which assists homeless families and tackles issues surrounding the lack of educational opportunities in communities in Wisconsin, Texas and Mississippi. Last year’s game, “which drew 5,366 fans, raised over $125,000” for the foundation.

Driver “succeeded” former Packers and current New York Jets QB Brett Favre “in hosting the event” (Brett Christopherson, Oshkosh Northwestern, 1/27). Read the entire piece from the Northwestern

Photo credit: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Kelci Stringer’s Settlement With NFL Includes Support for Heat Illness Prevention Program

ESPN’s Mortensen on the Stringer Story (0:50)

It was announced today that a lawsuit filed by the widow of former Minnesota Viking T Korey Stringer against the NFL has been settled. Stringer suffered a heatstroke death during training camp in 2001.

The AP reports that “under an agreement with Kelci Stringer, the NFL will support her efforts to create a heat illness prevention program” (AP, 1/26). Read the entire AP article

ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert writes that Kelci Stringer “considered the lawsuits a legal way to pressure sports leagues to adopt stricter heat standards and ditch their old-school approaches to practicing and playing in heat.” Seifert: “In that context, Monday’s news is as important a victory as she has gained over the years: The nation’s most successful sports league will support that effort” (Kevin Seifert, ESPN.com, 1/26). Read the entire article from ESPN.com

Fashion Sense: In St. Petersburg, Colleen Jenkins writes that Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks and his Derrick Brooks Charities hosted the 51st annual Ebony Fashion Fair in Tampa yesterday. Jenkins adds the event was “dazzling a near-capacity crowd that attended to support a local charity and learn what’s hip in fashion.” Brooks “wore a white suit, black shirt and white tie. Wife Carol’s white dress, black belt, and black-and-white-beaded jewelry complemented the look” (Colleen Jenkins, St. Petersburg Times, 1/26). Read the entire article from the St. Pete Times

Video added to ESPN.com: January 26, 2009

Souper Bowl of Caring Getting Nearly Twice the Support from Tampa Area This Year

Souper Bowl of Caring

In Tampa, Michelle Bearden writes that with the NFL’s Super Bowl set for Tampa on February 1, “local participation in the Souper Bowl has nearly doubled since 2008.” Bearden notes that “of the 17,000 churches and schools registered so far, 161 churches are in the Tampa Bay area, up from 90 last year.”

Souper Bowl of Caring organizes a giving campaign every Super Bowl Sunday. Churches and schools “raise money and food for their local charities, which get 100 percent of the donations.” The “grass-roots movement … has generated more than $50 million for food banks, soup kitchens and other programs that serve the needy.”

The Souper Bowl of Caring’s “ultimate goal: to transform the Super Bowl weekend into two days of giving and serving.” Souper Bowl of Caring’s Tracy Bender: “Imagine if every one of the estimated 100 million who watched the game gave a dollar to a charity” (Michelle Bearden, Tampa Tribune, 1/23). Read the entire article from Tampa Tribune

Kurt Warner and Michael Phelps Being Honored at This Year’s Celebrity Fight Night

Celebrity Fight Night

Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner will be honored with the Muhammad Ali Sports Leadership Award at the 15th Celebrity Fight Night annual gala on Saturday, March 28 in Phoenix.

Warner will be joined by Olympian Michael Phelps, who will be presented with the Muhammad Ali Sports Achievement Award. The evening will be emceed by Reba McEntire with Jon Bon Jovi serving as the headline entertainer (Celebrity Fight Night).

Indiana Senator Suggests Obama Tap Tony Dungy to Promote Responsible Fatherhood

Tony Dungy

With Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy announcing his retirement yesterday, the Indianapolis Star’s Maureen Groppe reports that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh “collaborated with President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday on how to keep [Dungy] busy in retirement.”

Bayh said that he “suggested to Obama that he recruit Dungy to work on promoting responsible fatherhood.” Dungy has been “active in community work, particularly on faith and family issues.” Dungy made PSAs “urging people to adopt or foster children and worked with the nonprofit group Family First, which promotes strong families” (Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, 1/13). Read the entire article from Indianapolis Star

In Indianapolis, Robert King writes under the header, “Dungy Scored Big With Community Groups.” King notes that nonprofit groups “across the city were struggling Monday to explain how they would fill the void left by a coach who lent his name, time, money — and often his heart — to so many causes.”

King: “In the past year alone, Dungy has made public service announcements urging people to become adoptive parents or foster families, promoting job fairs for ex-felons and speaking out against gun violence. He has raised money for causes including Riley Hospital for Children, Crossroads Bible College scholarships and the Emerging Eagles Program, which provides Christmas presents for the needy. He paid for eight weeks of lunches at his Near-Northside church’s summer day care. He helped a fundraiser for the Overseas Council, an international ministry that trains people in foreign countries to become church workers in their own lands.”

“We loved him so much and because the intangible presence of the man was larger than football.” – Rev. Clarence Moore

Northside New Era Missionary Baptist Rev. Clarence Moore said, “We loved him so much and because the intangible presence of the man was larger than football” (Robert King, Indianapolis Star, 1/13). Read the entire article from the Indianapolis Star

Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic to Benefit NFL’s YET Initiative in Tampa

NFL YET

On January 29 in Tampa, more than twenty NFL legends will hit the lanes at the 4th Annual NFL Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic, hosted by NFL Charities and Strike Ten Entertainment, the marketing arm of the bowling industry. The annual tournament, which is open to the public, provides fans with a chance to play side-by-side with NFL greats with each bowling team captained by a former pro football star.

Proceeds from the event will fund the NFL’s Youth Education Town (YET) initiative in Tampa Bay. The YET initiative provides education and mentoring services to at-risk youth in NFL cities. As its legacy to cities hosting Super Bowls, the NFL establishes these learning and recreational centers for at-risk youths.

NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann will return as event spokesperson for the second consecutive year. Players set to participate include Thurman Thomas, Dick Butkus, Lawrence Taylor, James Lofton, Kellen Winslow, Harry Carson, among others (NFL Charities).

Panthers Donating $1 Per Fan at Tonight’s Game to Critical Need Response Fund

Carolina Panthers

In Charlotte, Mark Price reports that the Carolina Panthers have pledged “a buck a head for every fan” in Bank of America Stadium tonight for the team’s playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals. With a sellout guaranteed, “that means $73,778 will be added” to the Critical Need Response Fund campaign, “bringing the total raised in just over four weeks to $2 million.”

The Critical Need Response Fund was created December 2 “as an emergency resource for charities that provide food, clothing and shelter to those in need.” Since then, “more than $1.1 million has been awarded to 29 charities to keep shelves stocked with food, shelters open, and heat on for the jobless” (Mark Price, Charlotte Observer, 1/10). Read the entire story from the Charlotte Observer

Team Effort: In a piece yesterday, Price noted that the Panthers serve “more than 240,000 people annually through year-round volunteerism, program sponsorships and grants made through Carolina Panthers Charities, a fund administered by Foundation for the Carolinas.” Panther Charities awards “about $500,000 annually to nonprofits across the Carolinas. Team-sponsored events raise $200,000 more.” This season’s campaign “to collect school supplies netted 32,000 items for Classroom Central, a nonprofit the Panthers helped launch in 2002 to gather classroom supplies.”

Panthers Director of Community Relations Riley Fields said that the team “gives much of the credit for its philanthropy to owner Jerry Richardson, who believes the Panthers should be an active a part of their communities” (Mark Price, Charlotte Obersver, 1/9). Read the entire article from the Charlotte Observer

Eagles’ Brown Gives Salvation Army Unexpected Exposure

As reported in today’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily, Philadelphia Eagles WR Reggie Brown gave the Salvation Army, an official NFL charity, “some unexpected exposure yesterday,” when he “jumped into a giant Salvation Army collection pot” on the Texas Stadium sideline during yesterday’s Eagles-Dallas Cowboys nationally-televised game on Fox. Brown “ran out of bounds after attempting to catch a pass and then jumped into the the pot to avoid crashing into it.” Fox’ Joe Buck commented, “Reggie Brown is in the giving mood. He ended up in the Salvation Army bucket.”

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, with Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson “sitting next to him, was shown from his box laughing at the replay.” Buck: “Jerry Jones has always been somebody who has given to that charity and been a leader in this area, the Salvation Army. He got a chuckle out of it.” In addition to the game coverage, the moment made the highlight reels on NBC and ESPN (SportsBusiness Daily).

Dick Butkus Takes Back Butkus Award to Better Position it as Charity Vehicle

Butkus Award

In Winston-Salem, Dan Collins writes that NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus “didn’t like how the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando was operating the Butkus Fund, which annually presents the Butkus Award to the top linebacker in college football.” So Butkus “moved the fund and the award bearing his name to Chicago.”

Butkus: “The whole deal with the Butkus Award is to raise money for charity. I think I’ll wake up tomorrow fine if there’s not an award named after me. It’s a vehicle to raise some money” (Dan Collins, Winston-Salem Journal, 12/10). Read the entire article from the Winston-Salem Journal

Image credit: Butkus Award

Mike Alstott’s Sports Buddies Day Helps Big Brothers Big Sisters Volunteer Recruitment

Mike Alstott’s Sports Buddies Day (3:51)

The Mike Alstott Family Foundation hosted is first ever Sports Buddies Day earlier this fall. Kids and adults involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters were invited to meet former Tampa Bay Bucanneers FB Mike Alstott and enjoy a day of fun, food, and festivities. The goal of Sports Buddies is to recruit male volunteers to be big brothers or big sisters.

Alstott: “It helps them in school, it helps them in their everyday life if they have someone they can call, someone they can look up to and be taught” (Mike Alstott Family Foundation).

Video added to YouTube: December 9, 2008

Arizona Cardinals’ Early Doucet Launching 980 Foundation with Luncheon Tomorrow

Early Doucet

Arizona Cardinals WR Early Doucet has launched the Early Doucet 980 Foundation to inspire young people to take responsibility for their future by reducing their “at risk” status and allowing mentors to take an active role in assisting them to reach their goals.

Doucet, who was once labeled as “at risk” youth, is hosting his organization’s First Annual Kickoff Luncheon tomorrow in Baton Rouge, La. The luncheon will also involve youth from Big Brothers and Big Sisters program in Louisiana. The event will provide youth with early Christmas gifts and will feature former Dallas Cowboys DT Leon Lett and LSU football players as speakers (Early Doucet 980 Foundation).

Image credit: Early Doucet 980 Foundation