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Mr. Kraft Sent AirKraft One to China to Bring Back 1.7 Million N95 Masks

Source - The sports world may be at a standstill from the coronavirus outbreak, but the New England Patriots went on the offensive in their efforts to help combat the deadly virus.

The Kraft family deployed the New England Patriots team plane to China, where it was loaded with N95 masks to be used in the fight against the coronavirus in Massachusetts, according to Governor Charlie Baker. The Baker administration said it had purchased 1.4 million N95 masks and the Patriots plane would be carrying the first shipment of the equipment to the state. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal Thursday morning. ...

In a statement Thursday morning, Baker credited Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan, as well as Chinese officials and members of his administration focused on developing and implementing the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. ...

The Kraft family later issued its own statement Thursday. In addition to shuttling the N95 masks back to Massachusetts, Robert Kraft personally purchased 300,000 N95 masks that he plans to provide to New York Governor Mario Cuomo, whose state is at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is an honor for our family to be a part of this humanitarian mission. We knew that purchasing greatly-needed N95 masks and providing the Patriots plane to expedite their delivery to local hospitals would immediately help protect our courageous healthcare professionals,” Robert Kraft said in the statement.

I'm going to try to not let my personal feelings for the Kraft family influence what I'm about to say. It won't be easy. When you are part of the close circle of friends who's been given the go ahead to call Mr. Kraft "RKK" as I have, it can be a struggle to put emotions aside and speak objectively. But no matter who you are, what team colors you wear or how frustrated you've been by another's success for over 25 years, you have to acknowledge a pure good when you see it. And to celebrate an act of generosity that will benefit us all.

It occurred to me when Drew Brees gave $5 million to help the people of Louisiana through this crisis, that hopefully it would inspire the NFL owners to do likewise. Even Brees - the third highest paid player of all time and the highest paid ever among guys not named Manning - doesn't have a fraction of the net worth of even the "poorest" team owner. So $5 million is a ton of money to him. So I'd hoped these billionaires, many of whom inherited their teams from their smarter, bolder, more visionary fathers with superior business acumen, would at the very least match was Brees did. All of them. But so far it would appear RKK is the first among them to step up and do his part. 

Here's another thought I had. And you'll have to pardon me if my sincerity is out of place here. But it's an idea that might just be crazy enough to be true. Maybe times like these bring out the best in us. Maybe struggles reveal the truth about who we are, and give humanity a chance to prove we're not the selfish, destructive, self-absorbed greed monkeys we're always told we are when life is good. 

 After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Great Depression, 9/11, Katrina and Fukushima were disasters where people rose to the challenge and helped out in huge numbers. Governments failed, but actual people stepped up to fill the void. When Margaret Mead was asked what is the earliest evidence of human civilization, she said it wasn't primitive tools or clay pots or agriculture. It's in skeletal remains of people who survived broken legs. Because in animals, that's a death sentence. You can't get water or food and you'll be eaten by predators. For an early human to live, required help from others. It took someone else to treat the leg and provide for the injured. When that happened, we stopped being just highly evolved animals and became something else: Connected.

 What we're seeing on a massive scale is just that. People giving of themselves and helping family, friends and strangers alike just because it's hardwired into us to take care of each other, in whatever form that takes. Helpers are helping. Feeders are feeding. Protectors are protecting. Entertainers are entertaining. And jumbo jet owners are putting their jumbo jets to good use. By no means am I suggesting a worldwide pandemic is NOT a horrible thing for everyone. I'm just saying maybe the takeaway from all this will be finding out our nature is better than we're always led to believe it is.

Anyway, enough of my philosophizing. Thanks to the Kraft family for going above and beyond when Massachusetts - and New York - needed them most.