Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars Give 1,000 Playoff Tickets To Refugees

by Robert Silverman

January 5, 2018
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette assists Houston area first responders holding an American flag before kickoff against the Houston Texans. Photo by Rick Wilson/AP.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will host their first playoff game at home since 1999, and the team is using this rare event to partake in an act of generosity. According to an announcement posted on the Jaguars’ website, 1,000 tickets will be dispersed to refugees in Florida. Puerto Ricans who fled the island in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria and are in North and Central Florida, will receive half of the available seats. The remaining 500 seats will go to refugees from other parts of the world who are currently in northern Florida.

Per an NBC report, as of Nov. 30, over 200,000 individuals migrated from Puerto Rico to Florida, and between 500,000 and 750,000 will be forced to resettle over the next four years. Though it has been over three months since Maria first struck, 55% of the island’s residents still lack electricity, per Puerto Rican authorities. The governor’s office estimated that they will not meet their goal of restoring power to 95% of homes until February at the earliest.

The Jaguars Foundation, a nonprofit created to help disadvantaged children and their families in Jacksonville, worked in concert with Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Latino Leadership, Inc., of Orlando to identify possible recipients. The team and Delaware North Sportservice will also be providing transportation, plus food and beverage coupons for Sunday’s game.

Team owner Shad Khan said in a statement:

“The Jaguars’ first home playoff appearance in very long time is an event that should be shared with as many people as possible, across all spectrums, who call Jacksonville their home, whether it’s a home game in August or January, it’s important for the Jaguars to consistently be good citizens and do the right thing for our community. Hopefully the experience on Sunday will give our guests a well-deserved break from what can be severe challenges in their daily lives, and if we can give them a victory on the field, it will make for a perfect day.”

What’s more, an additional 1,500 tickets have been sold at a reduced cost to military and other service personnel currently deployed in the Jacksonville area. The tickets, priced at $20, have been disbursed by the Greater Jacksonville Area USO.

“The military is synonymous with Jacksonville and we are proud, as always, to have those who serve in attendance on Sunday,” said Khan. “The playoffs are a great reward for all of our fans, but I am particularly pleased for our servicemen and servicewomen who have played a major role in the game day experience at EverBank Field and simply given us unbelievable support over the years. The long wait for playoff football in Jax ends Sunday!”

Bills fans have also been in a giving mood, donating over $250,000 to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s foundation, after Dalton tossed a last-minute 47-yard touchdown to beat the Baltimore Ravens. Thanks to Dalton’s heroics, the Bills ended the NFL’s longest playoff drought, ending a 17-year stretch without an appearance.

Share image by Rick Wilson/AP.

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