Ravens players raise $60,000 to benefit Japan

ABERDEEN -- An overflow crowd of thousands greeted Baltimore Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura on Saturday during an emergency relief charity event at Ripken Stadium where $60,000 was raised. A Japanese-American, Nakamura quickly organized the event along with the Red Cross to assist Japan after it was ravaged by an earthquake, tsunami and the dangerous spread of nuclear radiation last month.

"When we were pulling up, I had goosebumps," Nakamura said. "It was crazy. It's not what we expected. It was a small idea, and this is huge. It's awesome. It means a lot. It shows how much people really care."

Nakamura was joined by quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, free safety Ed Reed, defensive tackle Brandon McKinney, cornerback Chris Carr and former Ravens wide receiver turned broadcaster Qadry Ismail. "It's a tragic event," McKinney said regarding Japan. "We just want to help out any way we can."

Roughly 3,000 people paid either $50 for one autographed item or $100 for a pair of autographed items or purchased raffle tickets with all proceeds going toward the Red Cross International Relief Fund to benefit those affected by the catastrophic events in Japan.

"As a team, we stood together when Katrina hit New Orleans," said Reed, a native of St. Rose, La. "So, we know how catastrophic thigns are over there without even being there. You want to do as much as you can. "Being that Ru [Haruki] is like a brother to me, it was easy when he called to do the event because we know how much struggles people are going through right now. It's tough times right now, just like people are still recovering in New Orleans." Some fans complained via Twitter that they were unable to make it through the long lines to get autographs, but emphasized that the event was for a good cause.

Reed traveled from Atlanta to be there. And Rice and Flacco drove in from New York and New Jersey, respectively, to support Nakamura. "When you see things happen on the news, you realize it's not just about you," Rice said. "We're all a family. It's always great to come out to events like this when you've got a guy whose family is out there and is affected by things like this." "That's the American spirit," Carr said. "People want to help out those who are less fortunate, and that's why we're here. It's for a great cause."

For the fans, it may be a long time until they see the Ravens in a football setting. Although there are no signs that the lockout will end soon as the first work stoppage for the NFL in a quarter-century ensues, Rice expressed confidence that the players will eventually be able to reassemble on the field.

"I've got faith," Rice said. "To me, it's kind of like a family feud. At the end of the day, it will come out for the better for both sides." "It's a push-pull thing," Reed said. "It's a shame we have to go through this, and we don't know how long it's going to take. It's got to get worked out, and it will get worked out."

This marks a big week in the labor dispute with a hearing set for April 6 in federal court to hear the players' injunction request to halt the lockout.

"We hope, and all the fans should hope, that the players win that injunction," said Carr, one of the Ravens' union player representatives. "If we win, the lockout will be over and it will be illegal. Whoever loses the injunction, there will be an immediate appeal.

"That probably won't end until the end of April. If the players win the appeal, then there will no lockout. And the fans and everybody should be really happy because there's going to be a season. People should hope that will be the outcome. We just want to get on the field and play."

Ravens Insider Top Stories