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Micah Hyde, Josh Allen and the Bills come together for Buffalo community at charity softball game

during the Micah Hyde Charity Softball Game at Sahlen Field on May 15, 2022. Photo by Ben Green
during the Micah Hyde Charity Softball Game at Sahlen Field on May 15, 2022. Photo by Ben Green

East Buffalo suffered a tragedy on Saturday afternoon as a white supremacist targeted a predominantly Black area and murdered 10 people as they were grocery shopping at a Tops market on Jefferson Avenue.

Knowing that hate and gun violence took the lives of several beautiful people in an area not far from Highmark Stadium makes it truly "hit home" for many Bills players.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen said he was heartbroken to hear of the act of terror.

"It's still hard to wrap my head around it," Allen shared. "I tweeted it, just the heartbreak, the sense of this weird feeling that I have. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. We really haven't talked as a team yet.

"We'll be in the building tomorrow and I'm sure we'll talk about it, figure out a way to help the situation, help the families out. It's something that you never think it's going to happen in your community and when it does, it hits home. I was sick to my stomach all day yesterday."

On Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the mass shooting, the Bills came together for Micah Hyde's charity softball tournament. Hyde admitted they discussed postponing the event but wanted to ultimately use the game as a way to spread love and joy over hate.

"I heard the news yesterday and was simply shocked," Hyde said. "I still can't believe it. But when there's hate in the world, you kind of erase it with love and coming out here today and showing the community love, love to the youth, love to the community, love to the foundation. I guess that's the way to combat it. We had a bunch of conversations yesterday and into this morning.

"Yesterday, to be honest, we didn't feel right even having this game. But then having conversations with some people, we felt it was important to get the community out and put a smile on their face, get the players in front of them, and we're doing it for a good cause."

Hyde and his wife, Amanda, announced that part of the portions from the game at Sahlen Field would go to the families impacted by the tragedy. The other portion will go to the Hyde family's foundation called Imagine for Youth. The foundation was started in 2015 with a goal of helping financially disadvantaged kids thrive academically and athletically by donating supplies, resources and equipment.

"We're obviously generating a lot of money for the foundation and for the youth in Western New York," Hyde said based on the turnout of more than 10,000 fans. "And obviously when something like yesterday happens, we just want to help so that was where that decision came in."

"It's going towards such a great cause," Allen said of the proceeds from the event. "I wouldn't miss this for the world. I had to jump through some hoops to get here, but we got here and we're having a good time."

Several players came straight to the field from the airport to show support and participate in a lighthearted game of softball.

"You hear the energy and excitement here, players are having a good time," Allen said. "Again, just a microcosm of what an NFL team is like, what the locker room is like. Different ethnicities, races and personalities all mixed into one, coming out here and having a good time, showing the community this is who we are as a team. This is who we are as a community.

"We want to be a part of this community. Bills Mafia means a lot to us, and we want to show them that we care about them."

The goal of the day was to spread love and Hyde felt exactly that when he looked out into the crowd.

"You can go anywhere in this nation and I don't think you find a better community than Buffalo, and I honestly mean that," Hyde shared. "This place is home. I grew up here, became a man here, had kids, was married, lived here in my first home. This place is home to me, and I cherish this place a lot.

"To see this, it just means the world to me from the bottom of my heart that they're coming out here to support the foundation, support the kids in Western New York and support the Buffalo Bills."

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