"Our organizations have dedicated funs to assist in moving the statue."
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Tony Dungy, issued a challenge to the three pro sports teams in Tampa to help pay to move a Confederate statue from in front of a local courthouse, in light of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A mob of white nationalists invaded Charlottesville this past weekend to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. Confederate statues across the country are now being taken down in the wake of the violence that left one woman, Heather Heyer, dead and 19 others injured when a car driven by a man from Ohio crashed into a crowd that was protesting the white supremacists.
After being challenged by Tony Dungy, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Rays released a joint statement regarding the movement to remove the Confederate monument from downtown Tampa.
The statement reads,
"Recognizing that this monument does not reflect that values of our community, in collaboration with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, our organizations have dedicated funds to assist in moving the statue from the public space in front of the courthouse. Now more than ever before, we must stand united and committed to diversity and inclusion as we all attempt to heal from the tragedy in Charlottesville."
Additionally, according to the Tampa Bay Times, former Tampa Bay Storm owner Bob Gries pledged $50,000, and Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn offered to kick in $1,000 of his own money.
According to ESPN, "Hillsborough County commissioners voted yesterday 4-2 to block public spending to move the monument. The county said that the $140,000 required to move the statue would have to come from private funding, and that if it didn't in 30 days, the statue would likely stay."
Roughly 24 hours after that announcement, it appears enough money has been raised to move the statue to a small cemetery nearby.
The mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, also removed a number of Confederate statues in the "best interest of my city."
Our County says private $$ must be raised to move Confederate statue. Lauren and I are in for $5K. We challenge Bucs Rays Lightning to help! pic.twitter.com/dGRd1BTFkp— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) August 17, 2017
A joint statement from the Buccaneers, Lightning and Rays: pic.twitter.com/A825Lj0a1M— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) August 17, 2017