One nice thing the NFL has done during the lockout is allow organizations to get together with players if they're doing community or charity work. Depriving people of football is one thing, depriving people of help they need would be quite another.
Taking advantage of the policy, 136 members of the Chiefs organization went to Joplin, Mo., Thursday to do what they could to clean up in the aftermath of the devastating tornado that hit the area in May. Here's Matt Cassel, talking to the KC Star about the damage:
"It's amazing how much progress they've made down here since the last time I was here, but at the same time there's a lot of work to be done," Cassel said. "You can't prepare somebody for this. You can tell them whatever you want to tell them, but the reality really sets in when you come over that hill and you look down and you see a 2-by-6-mile (area) of just pure destruction. It looks like a nuclear bomb went off."
And Scott Pioli:
"It's great for us all to be together. Just because this is a work stoppage doesn't mean it's a life stoppage. The bottom line is we're all a part of this community. It's great to see everybody and for the right reasons, too."
The Chiefs plan to return, too, with team president Mark Donovan saying that this was "just the start." As part of that plan, the Chiefs are selling the T-shirts pictured above, with the proceeds going to the relief effort. It's a sharp-looking T-shirt. If you're a Chiefs fan, I think you should buy one.
It's also a good example about how NFL teams can be interwoven so positively into a community, and that's important, because it's so easy to lose sight of that when the headlines are dominated by the struggle over how to divide $9.3 billion. As of right now, those positive ties between teams and communities remain intact. It would be a terrible shame if any of that good will was sacrificed with something like a lost season.
Gracias, Arrowhead Pride.