J.J. Watt has not been in Houston since Hurricane Harvey claimed at least five lives and caused massive damage this weekend. He and the rest of the Texans went to Dallas after their exhibition game in New Orleans on Saturday and will remain there until conditions improve.
But Houston and its people are definitely on the three-time defensive player of the year’s mind.
“I’m sitting here watching the news, checking the Internet and seeing everything that’s going on with Hurricane Harvey and the damage it’s causing back home, and it’s very difficult,” Watt said in a video he posted Sunday on Twitter.
“It’s very difficult not only because we have family and friends back there — some guys have young kids, some guys have wives and families — but that’s our city. It’s very tough to watch your city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help. Not be there to help with the recovery, not be there to help with the process.”
In the video, Watt announced he was starting a fundraiser to help with relief efforts. According to a later tweet by Watt, that online campaign hit its initial goal of $200,000 in two hours, so he raised the goal to $500,000. As of Monday morning, the campaign had raised nearly $400,000.
“If you can donate something small, if you can donate something big — whatever you can donate, please donate to help these people out,” said Watt, who donated $100,000 to the effort. “Houston’s a great city. We’re going to come out of this stronger than ever. But we’re going to need a lot of money to help these people rebuild. So, if you can donate, please donate.”