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Sports world comes together for Haiti relief

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Haiti native Samuel Dalembert, left, of the Philadelphia 76ers, hugs Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, as he presents her with a check for $100,000 to aid relief efforts in Haiti. Haiti native Samuel Dalembert, left, of the Philadelphia 76ers, hugs Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, as he presents her with a check for $100,000 to aid relief efforts in Haiti.

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL and the players' union announced they were donating $500,000 each to the American Red Cross and Partners In Health on Friday, while the NBA and its union said it will contribute $1 million toward relief efforts in Haiti.

Major League Baseball had already pledged $1 million, while the NHL donated $100,000 to the earthquake-ravaged island.

Haiti native Samuel Dalembert of the Philadelphia 76ers taped a public service announcement for UNICEF encouraging NBA fans to contribute. He also plans to address the crowd before his home game on Friday, to make a $100,000 donation to UNICEF and match the donations made by fans.

"I was going to go tomorrow morning but you have to get clearance. It's not like you can go to Santo Domingo and drive," said Dalembert, who now hopes to visit Haiti next week. "If I could fly myself, I would go over there after every practice. I am just waiting."

The NFL and its network broadcast partners plan to run messages before and during this weekend's playoff games to promote donations. The announcements will drive viewers to the Red Cross Web site and feature New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma and San Diego defensive end Jacques Cesaire, who both have Haitian parents.

NASCAR's leading Hendrick Motorsports team announced it was loaning an airplane and two flight crews to Missionary Flights International, which will send support teams in and out of Port-au-Prince. The first flight was scheduled to leave Fort Pierce, Florida early Saturday.

Team owner Rick Hendrick was covering all the flight costs. At least one roundtrip flight was planned per day with no timeline for how long the plane and personnel will be on loan.

World TeamTennis is donating clothing items for children through Kids in Distressed Situations, and the NFL's Detroit Lions are donating $10,000 to the American Red Cross in the name of three players — Gosder Cherilus, Cliff Avril and Louis Delmas — who are of Haitian descent.

"We're trying to get a fundraiser started right now," Avril said. "Getting supplies is a concern for the whole country. There's no clean water. A lot of people don't have places to stay. Water and medicine is needed."

The Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in Tuesday's earthquake.

Retired NBA star Alonzo Mourning arrived in the devastated capital of Port-au-Prince on Friday with Project Medishare, a Miami-based nonprofit agency that has worked since 1995 to provide quality health care in Haiti. He said in a statement that athletes can "make a difference" for those affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks.

"The Haitian community has deep roots in Miami, a city which I have personally claimed as my own home for 15 years," Mourning said. "As a longtime resident, I feel a profound sense of sadness for my many affected friends and neighbors."

Mourning and former teammate Dwyane Wade are working together on a venture called the "Athletes Relief Fund for Haiti." The Heat have also announced plans to send money and supplies, asking fans to give in exchange for ticket vouchers to February games.

Greg McLaughlin, president of the Tiger Woods Foundation, said his staff was evaluating what it could do to help the relief effort. Rap mogul Russell Simmons said on Twitter that Tiger Woods was providing $3 million to help with the recovery.

"Our plan is to be part of the relief effort to help rebuild Haiti by supporting organizations that provide critical resources to young people, which is consistent with our mission and previous efforts," McLaughlin said in a statement.

 

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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