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    Sanders Calls on Athletes to Give to Relief Effort

    Sanders Calls on Athletes to Give to Relief Effort Ravens Cornerback Asks That Each Player Contribute at Least $1,000

    Gail Burton, AP
    The Ravens' Deion Sanders wants fellow athletes to "stretch the boundaries" of their giving to the hurricane relief effort.

    OWINGS MILLS, Md. (Sept. 2) - Baltimore Ravens cornerback Deion Sanders challenged all professional athletes to donate at least $1,000 apiece through payroll deductions to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

    Flanked by teammates and Louisiana natives Ed Reed and Alan Ricard, Sanders on Friday called for each team in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, as well as other pro sports, to help him reach a goal of $1.5 million to $3 million for the cause.

    "The recent devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the aftermath of her wrath, there has been a loss of life, property, finances, homelessness and a multitude of atrocities. The people affected by this disaster is astronomical," Sanders said.

    "As citizens of this country, we need to unite to help our brothers and sisters in their time of need. We must all stretch the boundaries of the giving as far as we are able to, knowing we will enrich the lives of others."

    The Ravens players also called for fans to donate money, clothing and supplies to the ravaged Gulf Coast.

    "Through unity, we can touch thousands," Sanders said. "This is in our own backyard. We feel this. Ed, Alan, feel this. I have friends, relatives that feel this pain. Help in any way you can."

    Added Reed, "This is my backyard, this is a city we walked on just last week to play a game we love to play. This is real. Football is something we get to do, basketball, baseball. We're reaching out to other athletes."

    Reed and the Ravens were in New Orleans to play the Saints at the Superdome just days before Katrina struck.

    Reed's high school jersey was retired at St. Rose, La., in suburban New Orleans a week ago.

    "It hurts us to talk about it," Reed said. "We know how bad it is in New Orleans, Alabama and Mississippi. These families don't have things to eat. Me being from down there, I know it's a lot worse than what we see on television. ... People see dead bodies around. It's horrific."

    Reed, last season's NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has established a Web site, www.reedhurricanerelief.com, for people to donate funds to the American Red Cross.

    The Ravens organization, which plans to donate $25,000 in addition to the players' efforts, will collect donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina on Sept. 11 when the team opens the season against the Indianapolis Colts.

    Reed and Ricard said they have been in contact with family members, but not all of them.

    "It hurts your heart to see New Orleans, the place where I'm from, looking like a Third World country," Ricard said.

    PeyBack Provides Aid

    Peyton and Eli Manning, who grew up in New Orleans, will fly to Baton Rouge, La., Saturday on a plane carrying relief supplies for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

    The brothers will leave from Indianapolis on a plane sponsored by the PeyBack Foundation. The flight will be carrying 31,000 pounds of nonperishable items including diapers, baby formula, pillows, water and Gatorade that will be delivered to the American Red Cross.

    Peyton, the NFL's two-time MVP, is the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. His brother Eli, the first pick in the 2004 NFL draft, is the quarterback for the New York Giants.

    Other Katrina developments

    Serena Williams, who has already said she'll donate $100 for every ace she hits the rest of the year, is also offering up her U.S. Open earrings. Williams is sporting a pair of $40,000 platinum chandelier earrings with 13 carats of diamonds, and said she and designer Erica Courtney will put them up for auction on the WTA Tour Web site after the Open. "That would be a lot more than the aces," Williams said.

    The NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks announced plans Friday to donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross. Additional money will come from an in-arena action held at the Sparks' playoff game against Sacramento earlier this week and from in-arena auctions held at each Lakers home game during the month of November. Also, the Lakers Youth Foundation will make a $100,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

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    Re: Sanders Calls on Athletes to Give to Relief Effort

    I have been very proud of the NFL and its players. They have stepped up quickly. The NFL donated money to the Red Cross days ago, and players such as Eli Manning, Deion Sanders, Ed Reed have made public announcements asking for support.

    I saw Deion's call on the athletes yesterday and I found myself liking him for pushing the football players to do their part. I have been openly critical of Deion in the past, but I think he may be winning me over. I heard that he wants to have a more physical role on the Raven's defense, probably in an attempt to overcome his reputation. Perhaps there is hope for him.

    Sorry sidetracking again.... I am proud to support the NFL. They have impressed me.
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