Tony Dungy challenged Tampa’s professional sports teams to help pay to move a Confederate statue from in front of a local courthouse, and they have responded.
Confederate statues, and there are hundreds, are being taken down across the country in the wake of Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. White nationalists marched there, in part, to protest the impending removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the key Confederate military figure in the Civil War.
A woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when a car driven by a man from Ohio plowed into a crowd that was protesting the white nationalists.
Since then, Baltimore has removed a number of Confederate statues, and many around Tampa rallied to have the statue Memoria In Aeterna removed from in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse. The statue was commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1910 and installed in 1911.
On Wednesday, Hillsborough County commissioners voted 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.
Tony Dungy, the former Buccaneers and Colts coach who lives in Tampa, tweeted an appeal to his 754,000 followers.
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
The Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning responded.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) August 17, 2017
But those teams weren’t the only ones. According to the Tampa Bay Times, former Tampa Bay Storm owner Bob Gries pledged $50,000, and even Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn offered $1,000.
In about 24 hours, enough money appears to have been raised to move the statue to a small cemetery in nearby Brandon.
Information from ESPN’s Jenna Laine was used in this report.