On Monday, with the city of Houston under a historic (and still deepening) amount of water from Tropical Storm Harvey, management at SportsRadio 610 decided to forgo sports talk for the day and joined us with our other CBS Houston stations in a simulcast of wall-to-wall Harvey coverage.
Even though it ostensibly wasn't a sports program, we still had Texans sideline reporter John Harris on the show as a guest so he could give us the mood of the team as they were two days into their diversion to Dallas, after Houston was deemed unfit for travel Saturday night after the Texans game in New Orleans against the Saints. The gravitas was evident in Harris's voice as he described his mood, the mood of the players and coaches, and their overall concern for their city.
Needless to say, what's happening in Houston is weighing heavily on the Texans, who won't make it back to Houston to play the Cowboys on Thursday. Instead, the teams will complete the preseason by playing the final preseason game in Arlington at AT&T Stadium.
The distance between the team and Houston did not stop the Texans from making incredibly generous moves. First, J.J. Watt opened up a website for donations (YouCaring.com/JJWatt) with the goal of getting to $200,000 in donations (NOTE: Watt reportedly donated $100,000 of his own money.)
Well, $200,000 became $300,000, and by the 24-hour mark, Watt's efforts had raised more than half a million dollars...
Hit $500k within 24 hours.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) August 28, 2017
I've raised the goal to $1 million.
Incredible to witness people coming together for the greater good of humanity pic.twitter.com/ZGllA96pwD
The power of social media and the power of J.J. Watt are something to behold. Having blazed to $500,000 within a day, Watt adjusted the total donation goal upward to $1 million. So as his followers knocked out that goal piece by piece, Texans owner Bob McNair reached that goal in one stroke of the pen, donating $1 million to the United Way to help flood victims. Bill O'Brien announced the gift following Texans practice in Frisco on Monday:
"What I want to do now is I want to talk about a couple different things. Like I said, we’re proud to represent the City of Houston. I saw that J.J. Watt started a fundraising page last night and raised over $200,000 in just a couple hours in addition to $100,000 coming from his own pocket. I think that really shows the type of guys that we have on this team and the fact that they are willing to do whatever it takes to care for our city. Another component I’m extremely proud to announce today is Mr. (Robert C.) McNair and the Texans are pledging one million dollars to the United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund. Texans helping Texans. I think that’s what it’s all about. These dollars will be put to good use in the relief and recovery efforts. We also hope our actions encourage others to do whatever they can to help their neighbors in need right now.”
Shortly after this announcement, the team's gift was matched by three different parties — the Dallas Cowboys, the New England Patriots and the NFL Foundation, bringing the total triggered by McNair's initial bit of philanthropy to $4 million.
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Not to be outdone, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander decided to just go ahead and cobble together his own $4 million from his own checking account, giving that amount to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund:
Statement from Leslie Alexander and the Houston Rockets. pic.twitter.com/yHTO996txN— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) August 28, 2017
There's still a long way to go, with more rain coming and months of recovery now in front of all of us, but the worst of Mother Nature brought out the best in sports on Monday.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.