Fujita: Heart breaks over oil gusher in the Gulf

by Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports

wwltv.com

Credit: The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS, La. ― Scott Fujita sits in front of his TV these days and watches in horror as pictures of oil-covered pelicans and oil-drenched marsh flitters across the screen.

And his heart breaks.

It breaks over those images and breaks over the untold stories of the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fujita might no longer be a Saints player, but he’s every bit a New Orleanian.

“Visually, the coverage alone is tough to watch, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for everyone living through it right now,” Fujita said recently through email.

He added, “The ripple effect of this mess is mind-blowing. I have friends in New Orleans who own & manage various businesses in lines of work that would seem unrelated to the spill. But when I hear from them, it’s clear how much they’re impacted as well.”

Fujita played for the Saints from 2006 through the 2009 Super Bowl season and in that time, he became a much-loved member of the community. That, in turn, allowed him to fall in love with the city of New Orleans and the coastal wetlands that help protect it.

Recently, he filmed a public service announcement for America’s Wetland Foundation, an organization that raises awareness about the loss of Louisiana’s wetlands.

Part of Fujita’s Super Bowl-winning bonus went to wetlands restoration.

He also started a text-to-donate fund drive for the AWF, where a $10 donation can be granted by texting isupport wetlands to 20222 and replying yes to a confirmation message.

“For some time now, my wife and I have felt strongly about doing something to educate more people about the important role the wetlands play, really in terms of the ultimate survival of the city of New Orleans,” Fujita said. “That may sound a little dramatic, but it’s the truth. The wetlands really are the city’s best means of defense and they’re disappearing at an astonishing rate.”

But that was before the Deepwater Horizon exploded 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, beginning what has become the nation’s worst environmental disaster.

With oil now lapping at the shores of Plaquemines Parish, St. Bernard Parish and Jefferson Parish, Fujita wants to do more.

Now in Cleveland with the Browns after signing a free agent-contract with that team, he’s trying to push the cause nationally. Fujita said he is trying to use contacts in Washington, D.C., to impress upon how important an issue saving the wetlands is.
The Browns sent out a PR release touting Fujita’s text-to-donate campaign. He’s also planning to re-tape his PSA, updating it because of the oil gushing into the Gulf.

“Obviously, all of us wish we could do more,” Fujita said. “The Cleveland media is taking some interest in this issue, and I’m hopeful that more people around the country pay attention & help if they can. A great site for anyone who’s interested is www.bpdrillingdisaster.org. We’ll also be updating my website (www.scottfujita.com) as regularly as possible with ways to get involved.”

Fujita has been outspoken in his career about many topics and this is no different. He wants those responsible to pay for their mistakes. But most of all, he just wants someone to take the lead in getting the leak stopped.

“I’m eagerly awaiting some positive news,” Fujita said. “Something. Anything. I’ve been critical of the Obama administration in what has seemed like a pretty nonchalant response. Like a lot of people, I’ve been begging for someone to take the lead.”

For Fujita, New Orleans wasn’t just a stop during his career. It became home. So much so that he’s keeping his condo.

All he wants is it to get the respect he feels like the area deserves.

“Right now, a way of life is again being threatened in the state of Louisiana,” Fujita said. “My family is keeping a home in New Orleans because we love it there…my children are native-born. We just want the place we’ve come to call home to get the help it deserves, and to catch a break for a change.”

Filed in: Press Room • Friday, June 4th, 2010

Comments

Hey Scott,

We really miss you down in New Orleans brother but we wish you well in Cleveland. Thank for all of your help getting the word out about the oil spill. I already miss my fishing trips in the gulf. I hope to be able to do it again in my lifetime.

Take Care.

By Susan Yerger on June 15th, 2010 at 10:09 am

Hi Scott,

I’m glad that you’ll be in town tomorrow night for the ring ceremony and that you decided to keep a home here. You are a true New Orleanian and will always be a Saint to us. Bless you and thanks for all your effort, help and love for our region.

Susan

 

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About

Scott Fujita

Scott Fujita was born in Ventura, California on April 28, 1979. He was a three-sport standout at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, CA before heading to the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with Honors in Political Science and earned a Masters degree in Education.

Fujita has played in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns. Read more