Thursday night’s preseason game between the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium was canceled by the NFL on Wednesday to allow Houston players to return home to be with their families after the catastrophic flooding in Houston.
The decision came days after the game was moved from Houston’s NRG Stadium to the Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington because of the massive flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane Harvey hit Texas hard with some areas of Houston getting a record-setting 51 inches of rain. At least 10,000 people have been rescued from their homes with the death toll climbing to at least 30.
An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 homes have been destroyed in the Houston area as Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, continues to batter the Gulf Coast with torrential rains and flooding.
The Texans have been in the Dallas area since early Sunday morning after flying directly from their preseason game in New Orleans on Saturday night. The team has been practicing this week at the Cowboys’ facility in Frisco, Texas.
Tickets for the relocated game went on sale Tuesday night and more than 40,000 were sold with the proceeds going to the hurricane relief fund. The Dallas Morning News reported that fans who bought tickets can receive a refund or choose to have the money used as a donation to relief efforts.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt launched an online fundraising page Sunday with an initial goal of raising $200,000 to raise money for flood relief in Houston. As of Wednesday morning, the fund had raised more than $5.1 million and Watt also raised the goal of the fundraiser to $6 million.
Watt was asked by reporters Tuesday if the game on Thursday could provide a distraction for the people in Houston.
“No,” Watt said. “I think the only good thing that could possibly come out of a game on Thursday would be a massive fundraiser. That’s about the best-case scenario that could some from a game on Thursday is if it raised multi-millions of dollars.
“This is bigger than football. It’s bigger than a game. It’s bigger than any of us. So we need to make sure that we’re thinking about these victims and the city of Houston before anything else.”
(Editing by Andrew Both)
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