SEATTLE Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin rallied support for the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Visayas by running onto the field waving the Philippine flag ahead of the team's 41-20 NFL win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).
Baldwin, whose maternal grandmother still lives in Tacloban in Leyte, one of the cities hardest hit by the super typhoon, told blogger Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times that his family went through anxious times as they awaited news from close kin back home.
“It was (stressful) at first just because you didn’t know what was going to happen,” he told the paper. “Most of them have been accounted for. One of my family member’s house is completely gone and the majority of my family members are staying in my grandmother’s sister’s house.
"The only thing is that it’s been difficult to get them food and water because it’s not been accessible to do so. But most of them we have heard from and they are doing okay.”
Asked how many relatives he has in Tacloban, Baldwin said, "Too many to count."
The Seattle organization pitched in by having American Red Cross volunteers at the gates collecting donations for the relief efforts. The team has so far raised US$25,000, including over US$12,000 from Sunday's game alone. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will match all donations collected.
Baldwin also caused a fuzz when he waved the flag upside down - red on top means the country is at war. However, the Seahawks were quick to play down the incident, tweeting, "We are fighting the devastation of #Haiyan which has been worse than many war-torn regions of the world."
Although his mother comes home often, Baldwin said he has not had not the opportunity to visit his family in Tacloban but hopes to do so in the next offseason.
“I’m seriously considering taking time out this offseason to make sure I get out there,” he told the Seattle Times. “Because that’s my family.”