BUFFALO, NY – A day after 10 people were killed and three others injured in a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket, Bills safety Micah Hyde pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds from his charity softball game to the families of the victims.
Hyde said the long-scheduled softball game was almost canceled due to events over the weekend, but he felt it was important to bring the community together after such a tragedy and do something positive.
the the attack took place on Saturday afternoon when an 18-year-old white man opened fire at a Tops Friendly Markets located in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo. Authorities called the act “racially motivated violent extremism”.
“I still can’t believe it,” Hyde said. “But when there’s hate in the world, you kind of erase it with love, and come here today and show the community love and love for young people, love for the community, love for the foundation. I guess that’s the way to fight this.”
A check for $200,000 was presented to Hyde’s IMagINe For Youth foundation by event sponsors prior to the game. In addition to a portion of the other proceeds, the money raised during the silent auction organized during the event will go to the families of the victims. Everything that came out of the game of softball goes back to Western New York.
The event drew more than 10,000 people to Sahlen Field in downtown Buffalo, after less than 2,000 people attended Hyde’s first charity softball game of 2019. More than three dozen Bills players attended , including the quarterback. Josh Allentight end Dawson Knoxcornerback Tre’Davious White and security Jordan Poyer.
“Praying for and with our Buffalo community,” the Bills tweeted Saturday night. “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and friends.”
With volunteer OTAs continuing this week for the Bills, several players said they expect the team to come together in meetings on Monday to determine the best approach for the larger group to help the community and those most directly affected by the shooting.
“My heart goes out to the victims and their families,” Allen said. “We haven’t really spoken as a team yet. We’ll be in the building tomorrow and I’m sure we’ll talk about it and find a way to help the situation, to help the families. It’s something you I never think this is gonna happen in your community and when it does it hits home I had a stomach ache all day yesterday I was coming back from my sister’s graduation, and it was just , it’s heartbreaking. It really is.
“And again, we’ll talk as a team tomorrow and figure out what we want to do, but there’s no doubt we’re going to get something done.”
Allen said he was glad Hyde decided not to cancel the event because it gave Bills players an opportunity “to come out here, show their faces and show that we care about this community.”
“A microcosm of an NFL football team, the locker room is made up of different ethnicities, races, personalities, all blended into one,” Allen said. “Coming here, having a good time and showing the community this is who we are as a team. This is who we are as a community, and we want to be part of that community.”
While the day’s events included a home run derby and a seven inning softball game between offense and defense, the weight of what happened in the community over the weekend was pervasive, including during a moment of silence and the moving national anthem sung by Buffalo Police Officer Armonde “Moe” Badger.
“If we stopped and canceled everything because of hate, we wouldn’t move forward,” Hyde said. “There are a lot of them, and I think all you can do is just, like I said, spread the love and love each other. I think that was important during the last two years in society, obviously going through COVID and all that kind of stuff to really reach out and help each other and love each other.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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