Beyond the Bison: Sharapova shares profits for Puerto Rico

Lauren Whelan, Sports Co-Editor

As the devastation in Puerto Rico becomes a hot-button topic across environmental and political platforms, tennis superstar Maria Sharapova decided to use her spotlight in the sports world help the cause by donating profits from her candy and chocolate brand, “Sugarpova,” to relief efforts.

Inspired by her recent trip to Puerto Rico, where she played fellow tennis standout Monica Puig in a friendly match, Sharapova recognized her ability to contribute to different funds for aid. The profit from “Sugarpova” are going directly into the fund established by Puig, called “Help Rebuild Puerto Rico”; this has been an extremely successful fundraising effort thus far as the original goal was set at 25,000, and to date it has raised over 100,000. With the help of profits from “Sugarpova,” which will be donated through the end of the year, the fund has the capacity to raise much more money and truly make a significant impact for relief efforts.

Sharapova’s name in the news recently has not been completely positive; recently, she served a fifteen-month suspension from pro-tour competition due to testing positive for meldonium. Now, with the help of her hurricane relief fund, Sharapova has started to put her name back in the news in a positive light.

Like so many other athletes, Sharapova’s use of her athletic spotlight to garner attention towards philanthropic causes is admirable; looking at both her efforts as well as Puerto Rican star Monica Puig’s, it is clear that these attempts to ignite change and send help truly make an impact, particularly in devastating times of need. Multiple other pro athletes have campaigned to help the nation as well, particularly a group of MLB starts such as Yadier Molina of the Cardinals and Enrique Hernandez on the cardinals. Former MLB star Jorge Posada, retired from the New York Yankees, has created one of the most successful campaigns, using his athletically-inspired platform to rally attention, support, and most importantly, donations. Platforms such as GoFundMe have served as key spaces to make contributions easy for all who are interested in helping the cause.

As Puerto Rico struggles to recover, and politicians and other figures struggle to properly respond, it is even more important that the contributions both made and encouraged by these athletes are recognized. Sharapova’s use of her spotlight will not go unnoticed; it is noticed not only by her big time fans who will donate, but more importantly, it will be noticed by those receiving aid in Puerto Rico.

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