Seattle Sounders FC players Obafemi Martins and Djimi Traore talked today about their participation in public-awareness advertisements concerning Ebola, the deadly disease raging primarily in West Africa.
The two Sounders appear along with Darlington Nagbe of the Portland Timbers in a 30-second advertisement produced by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. The spots have been aired in cooperation with MLS Works, the league’s community outreach initiative that has tackled other issues such as breast-cancer awareness and the Nothing but Nets malaria-prevention campaign. The Ebola ads have appeared during telecasts of league matches.
A similar ad features Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson. Additional information and both videos are available at TackleEbola.com.
All three soccer players have African connections. Martins is a native of Lagos, Nigeria, and has played with the Nigerian national team. Traore was born and raised in Paris. However, his parents are from Mali, and he has played with the Mali national team. Nagbe is from Liberia, which already has been hard hit.
Here is some of what the two Sounders had to say:
TRAOREOn his interest in the issue: With my background, I’m from Africa. I didn’t grow up there, but my parents. It’s a big issue. And yes, I’d like to warn the world and send that message. Here in America, if we can contribute, like to bring some money, some donations, that’s the thing to do.
On the situation in Mali: Right now it has not spread in Mali yet. But you need to be careful because now what you see is it’s coming more and more. Of course, Mali is a big country, and once somebody has got it, he can pass it on to everyone. We need to be careful and warn the people.
On using his celebrity for a good cause: We know people watch us a lot. Of course when you have somebody famous who can pass the message it’s easier to understand. It is part of the job for us, and we do that with pleasure.
MARTINSOn the issue: It matters a lot. It’s important for us to do what we did to try to help them. I think it’s a good thing. I think a lot of people have started helping them now.
On Ebola in Nigeria: It’s a global things right now. I think they need us to try and support them. People who want to contribute, they’re doing it now. I hope it’s going to go away soon.
On using his celebrity for the cause: I’m happy that I’m involved in that. I hope everything’s going to be OK soon.