After the coronavirus hit the United States and ground the sports world to a halt, Walton reached out to Santangelo with a proposal: What if a bunch of D.C.'s sports broadcasters joined Cameo and agreed to donate the proceeds to charity? Santangelo was onboard with the idea, and several others soon followed.
The “Voices of D.C. Sports: Helping to Feed the City” campaign launched Monday. For a donation of $25 or more, Walton, Santangelo and a dozen other local sports broadcasters are available to record video messages on Cameo. The proceeds, after Cameo takes its 25 percent cut, benefit Capital Area Food Bank, D.C. Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table. Fans can also make donations of any amount to the cause by texting DCSPORTS to 44321.
“We didn’t want it to be anything outrageous,” Walton said in a phone interview Sunday. “We wanted a lot of people to be able to do it. We’re cut off from the fans just like they’re cut off from us. It’s something that we can do that would be fun for people out there who probably need a smile, and at the same time raise money for the people who need it the most. There are a lot of people in this town who are doing hero’s work. We want to help give them the tools to keep doing that.”
The other broadcasters participating include the Capitals’ TV duo of Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin along with analysts Alan May and Al Koken, and public address announcer Wes Johnson; Nationals radio crew Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes; Redskins radio voice Larry Michael; and Wizards TV and radio broadcasters Justin Kutcher, Caron Butler, Drew Gooden, Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor. Walton said Michael planned to promote the campaign on his daily show, “Redskins Nation,” while the local broadcasters who chose not to make themselves available for Cameo requests would support the effort in other ways.
“None of us see each other all that much, but we all know each other pretty well,” Walton said of D.C.'s sports broadcasting fraternity. “I’m a baseball fan, so my son and I, when we were at Nats Park last summer, we went to the booth. F.P., when the Nats came and brought the [World Series] trophy [to Capital One Arena], he did the first intermission with me. We all have a pretty good relationship, and once I threw it out there to everybody, it was like, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ ”
Walton said he has been passing some of his unexpected free time by taking his dogs for walks and binge-watching Showtime’s Wall Street drama “Billions,” which featured a shout-out to Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in last year’s season premiere.
“I’m ready to be Bobby Axelrod,” Walton said of the fictional hedge-fund manager played by Damian Lewis.
For $25, fans can ask Walton to do his best “Axe” impression or possibly his legendary call of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s series-clinching overtime goal against the Penguins during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run.
“I think a lot of our trademark phrases will probably end up in a lot of these, but that’s fun,” Walton said. “Maybe we’ll end up calling play-by-play of what people are doing around the house. We’ve got to do something. I think all of us will find a way to put our own unique touches on it. … This is what we do. We stand up when our town needs it. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this thing takes off.”
Local athletes have also made notable donations to coronavirus relief efforts this month. Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his wife, Eireann Dolan, made a $10,000 contribution to Capital Area Food Bank last week. Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and his wife, Brandi, followed suit with an identical donation a few days later.
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