ORLANDO - Orlando City Soccer Club has been chosen as one of three recipients of the 2017 Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award.
The award, named after the ESPN commentator who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2015, honors people, teams and organizations in sports that have used an innovative approach to help people through the power of sports.
The soccer club has been recognized with this award because of their efforts to promote inclusion, diversity and respect for others following the Pulse nightclub tragedy on June 12, 2016.
Orlando City and the club's fans created a beautiful response to the tragedy days after during their game against the San Jose Earthquakes. Every part of the game was a dedication to the 49 lives lost.
The players walked out to "All You Need is Love" by the Beatles, and first responders, as well as victims' families, were honored before the game. Players doned #OrlandoUnited patches on their jerseys as well as rainbow wristbands. In the 49th minute of the game, play was intentionally stopped for the first time in MLS history for a moment of silence. In midfield, 49 seats remained empty with rainbow balloons to remember the lives lost.
In addition to the symbolic reminders of the tragedy, the organization raised $500,000 for the OneOrlando fund and continue to raise money for the victims.
In Orlando City's new stadiums sits 49 rainbow #OrlandoUnited seats, a permanent memorial to the Pulse tragedy.
Orlando City will be honored at the third annual Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards sponsored by ESPN.
"This is one of the most important awards we could receive, because it's about the positive impact we could have in the community as an organization," Orlando's VP of Community Relations Kay Rawlins.
The recipients of the award receive $100,000 to donate to charities related to humanitarian efforts. Orlando City has chosen to divide the money between the Better Together Fund, Contigo Fund and the OnePulse Foundation.
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