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Haiti earthquake: NFL, NBA show solidarity

To promote Haiti earthquake relief efforts, CBS and FOX will air a 30-second NFL public-service announcement during the AFC and NFC divisional playoff games this weekend.

By Matthew ClarkStaff writer / January 15, 2010

A young woman walks the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Thursday, two days after a 7.0 earthquake struck the capital city.

Mary Knox Merrill/The Christian Science Monitor

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As football fans across America gear up to watch the playoffs this weekend, the National Football League has a message for them: Don't forget about the people of Haiti.

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Both CBS and FOX will air a 30-second NFL public-service announcement during the AFC and NFC divisional playoff games this weekend asking viewers to contribute to relief efforts in the wake of the 7.0 earthquake that rocked the impoverished Caribbean island Tuesday evening. In addition, all four home teams (the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, and New Orleans Saints) will promote the Red Cross’ text-to-give message via video board and public-address announcements.

The White House said more than $8 million via $10 text message donations to the Red Cross had already been raised, according to a Friday morning story in the Washington Post. (For more on how to donate quickly and easily via your cellphone, click here. And to read more about how the text-to-donate phenomenon is taking off in the wake of Haiti's earthquake, read this Monitor story.)

Similar to the NFL, the Philadelphia 76ers' Sam Dalembert, who hails from Haiti, is using the NBA as a platform to draw attention to UNICEF's relief efforts. The Chicago Bulls are using their Friday game against the Washington Wizards also to raise money for UNICEF, and will match audience donations dollar-for-dollar.

More than 20 NFL players are of Haitian descent, according to the NFL's website. And a good number of them – including Colts wide-receiver Pierre Garcon, Saints running-back Pierre Thomas, and Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – will be playing this weekend.

Mr. Garcon actually had family in Haiti during the earthquake and it reportedly took him more than a day to hear that at least some of them were OK. He's still waiting to hear from others. Many Haitians and Haitian-Americans are also still waiting for word from their loved ones, because communications on the island are still down, complicating relief efforts.

"Eventually, I'll go down there," he told the Associated Press. "My mom's going down there soon. I have other family members going down there, and people from church are going down there."

But Saturday, he's expected to play against the Ravens.

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