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Bills, Sabres and Bandits rally around community

Buffalo sports teams arrive in neighborhood to show support after Saturday's deadly shooting

CC: Buffalo News

BUFFALO, N.Y, (May-18-2022) - Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen arrived in the city's east side to pay respects and pass out food to those affected by the events of May 14.

The 25-year-old wore a black t-shirt that said "Choose love," along with the rest of the team and placed a bouquet of flowers near a memorial of the victims to pay his respects. Allen called this a chance for the city to come together and grieve.

"“This gave us an opportunity to come out and be physical and show that we care about this community,” Allen said. “To be in the community, give some hope, share some grief - that’s how we’re going to get past this."

On Wednesday, May 18, a majority of Bills players and coaching staff served fettuccini Alfredo provided by Buffalo celebrity chef Darian Bryan to 750 people, whose Tops supermarket had been shut down after a gunman killed 10 and wounded three people there Saturday. Members of the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits also joined in.

Dion Dawkins, Bills offensive tackle, told the Buffalo News the attack struck him personally since he lives 20 minutes away from the area and has shopped in that Tops store.

"“It’s definitely personal,” he said. “We live here and a lot of people on our team are African-American, and this neighborhood was targeted because of being an African-American community. So they targeted me and my people."

Dawkins said the attack took place where people would least expect it, making it much worse.

“Somebody planned an attack," Dawkins said, "did the demographic of this community, said ‘This is where they are at the most, let’s attack there,’ and that’s what they did," he said. “I see it more as a terrorist attack to a background of people.”

Sabres forward Kyle Okposo said he wanted to reach out to this community since the city has done so much for him.

"It was important to us to come and just show our support and reflect on what has happened in our community and be together with people," Okposo said in a Twitter video posted by the Sabres. "For me personally, I just want to talk to people and have a conversation with them and ask them how they are doing."

Kevyn Adams, the Sabres general manager, said he remembered his days playing for the team and how great the Buffalo community is, so it broke his heart that an attack like this happened there.

"I'm from here and I know what this community is all about and how we rally together in tough times and we rally together in great times," Adams said. "Just actually being here today and being kind of part of the day and seeing everything certainly gives you a sick feeling inside just to know what this community is going through."

Bills hall of fame running back Thurman Thomas and his wife Patti donated $100,000 to the community, while the team and NFL Foundation donated $200,000 each. As the grieving process and media debates continute about this tragedy, the three teams will look to support the city that supported them.

"Those guys said right away, 'We'll be here this week because that's our city. We love it and we want to be supportive,'" Thomas said. "They want to see what they can do and how they can help, because they were really a part of this community for a number of years and they want to continue to help."

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