Who’s who of L.A. sports stars collaborate on a pandemic PSA
Los Angeles sports stars and teams share a message of support amid the coronavirus outbreak.
With Southern California’s college and professional sports teams sidelined by the coronavirus, Will Walsh had an idea for tapping into all that down time: What if he could get everyone together on the same page — or at least the same video screen — with a message of unity to help slow the spread of the virus?
So Walsh, who manages digital content for the Los Angeles Football Club, approached the other 11 professional sports franchises in the Southland, plus the two major colleges, and asked for a volunteer from each organization to tape a public-service announcement repeating Mayor Eric Garcetti’s guidelines for dealing with COVID-19.
“We all recognized the need to figure out something to get all the mayor’s points across,” Walsh said. “The thing that would have the most impact was something that united all the teams above sports, above the rivalries, above everything else.
“I can’t think of the last time all the teams have done something like this.”
The result was a video, addressed to the people of Los Angeles, in which a roster deep in All-Pros and All-Stars asks fans to stay together, stay united and observe social-distancing guidelines.
The PSA, which each contributor recorded on his or her cellphone, features baseball’s Mike Trout and Walker Buehler; hockey’s Dustin Brown and Josh Manson; soccer’s Jonathan dos Santos and Eduard Atuesta, who speak in the video in both Spanish and English; basketball’s Kyle Kuzma, Landry Shamet and Nneka Ogwumike; the NFL’s Jared Goff and Derwin James; plus the XFL’s Nelson Spruce of the L.A Wildcats, UCLA’s Mick Cronin and USC’s Talanoa Hufanga.
The Drew League in L.A. is famous for its star-studded tournament, but the threat of canceling the season has a ripple effect on the community.
Each person, speaking from their home, reads from the same 108-word message with the videos then edited into a minutelong package.
“These are unprecedented times,” Kingsforward Brown says at the top.
The players go on to emphasize that people must wash their hands, avoid public gatherings and hoarding of food, and stay away from crowded stores.
“We are all in this together,” says the Ducks’ Manson before several athletes join in with a chorus of “this is bigger than sports.”
To bring the teams together Walsh called on the relationships he built in February, when he invited the digital and social-media teams from every area pro sports organization to Banc of California Stadium for a networking session. It took about two weeks to gather all the videos.
“Knowing who your peers are in different teams, different leagues, it will set the stage for something like this, which we really didn’t anticipate using so quickly,” he said. “But it definitely allowed a much easier process to get all these teams on board.
“We kept it pretty straightforward. We didn’t want to put any sort of branding on it. We wanted just to really echo the main points of how to fight this thing.”
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.