Bills Dion Dawkins Charity Cornhole Tournament Benefits Families of Tops Shooting Victims | Buffalo Bills News | NFL

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Scheduling a cornhole tournament for charity felt natural for Buffalo Bills right tackle Dion Dawkins, even with a few last-minute changes.

Dawkins loves cornhole, the popular backyard game played by tossing beanbags.

He recently participated in the American Cornhole League’s Cornhole Mania tournament in Atlantic City, NJ, and finished second. He often plays with his teammates. Dawkins also wanted to continue finding new ways to raise money for his foundation, Dion’s Dreamers.

The Dion Dawkins and Ilio DiPaolo Charity Cornhole Tournament was already scheduled for Sunday, initially to benefit Dion’s Dreamers. But following last week’s racist mass shooting at Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue, Dawkins instead wanted to donate to support the victims’ families and the East Side community.

Bruce Smith channeled the grief felt by neighborhood residents on Thursday around Tops Friendly Markets where 10 people were killed on Saturday.

“One hundred percent,” Dawkins said Sunday. “They need everything, plus some. And that’s just a little, little, little piece. And I will continue to do more and more to drive everything first to families and then to these organizations.

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All proceeds from Sunday’s tournament will now benefit the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund and the Buffalo Community Response Fund. The final amount was still being calculated, but more than $9,000 was raised at the Lodge at Woodlawn Beach State Park.

Dawkins also takes the time to find other nonprofits to support in the future. As a member of Bills’ Player Community Leadership Committee, Dawkins wants to ensure efforts to help the East Side community continue long after the immediate flood of support.

“Everyone scatters, and everyone just goes back to their little blankets, like, ‘Oh, we’ve done our justice. “But it’s on organizations like the Bills, organizations like Dion’s Dreamers and all those little one, two punches to keep bringing the light and keep pouring our energy into this area,” Dawkins said.

“Because this area will remain historic forever. So we have to put our efforts into it. We have to be there physically. We can’t just tweet about it. We have to be about it.


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“It’s one thing to see everything on social media and hear what’s going on, but to actually be here and see the flowers of the families of the victims and see the site where it happened, it hits you completely differently. “said tight end Bills Dawson. Knox.

It was cold and rainy at the start of the event, but that didn’t stop the games.

Dawkins started the day by introducing some of his Bills teammates.

He competed with defensive end AJ Epenesa, who Dawkins said won Game 1. Tight ends Dawson Knox and OJ Howard played together. The offensive line did well. Tommy Doyle, Spencer Brown and Jacob Capra were all there, as well as Ryan Bates, who played barefoot in the rain. Wide receiver Gabriel Davis, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and some Bills support staff were all there.

While some had already planned to compete on Sunday, Dawkins believed the new cause was also a driving force.

“I definitely think my teammates intended to come, but once I let them know what the cause was, it was like ‘Yeah, we’re going to stay and we’re going to be here.’ So they all switched gears and I’m grateful to them.


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his wife, Jane, will donate $50,000 to the Bills Social Justice Fund

Goodell visited the site of Saturday’s mass shooting Thursday with Bills and Sabers owners Terry and Kim Pegula and former Bills and Sabers members.

Howard, who signed with the Bills in March, quickly became involved with his new team.

“Dion put the flier in the locker room and you had to find a partner,” Howard said. “I said to Dawson, ‘Man, let’s go. He was like, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”

Howard is still getting to know Buffalo, but Sunday’s charity event, like Safety Micah Hyde’s softball game the week before, solidified the team’s bond with the community for him.

“It just tells you how the community, no matter what, everyone sticks together,” he said. “And it’s a community, a Buffalo.”

The format has also brought fans alongside players. The tournament was double-elimination, and pairs could enter competitive or recreational brackets. Even playing against members of the Buffalo Cornhole League, Dawkins and the other Bills weren’t shy about talking trash.

“I’ll tell you the truth: In a football game, I try to stay calm and cool until things start to get wild,” Dawkins said. “But cornhole, I definitely talk about my business. And I mean, immediately, I’m letting you know, ‘I’m talking to you. I’m in your head and we’re going to win. So definitely the cornhole is definitely where I cut the most.

But even though the Bills players were quick to tweet, many of them lost quickly, thanks to the strong performances of the other participants.

Nicole Wojciechowski has been playing the game for a while and came to the event wearing a cornhole jersey. She had signed up to play earlier this month, lured by the competitive aspect, and the opportunity to give back made it more meaningful. Wojciechowski was also thrilled to see some of her favorite soccer players try their hand at another game.

“I thought it was so awesome,” she said. “You think these guys, all they do is play football, they train, they constantly play football,” she said. “But no, they go out, they have a normal life, they play cornhole, they play a bunch of different sports, they give back to the community. It really is something awesome to see.

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