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Pro athletics’ positive contributions were on display at Fitz’s Red Party

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While Hollywood’s elite was gracing the red carpet at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, Arizona’s elite were sauntering down the red carpet at Dominick’s in Scottsdale, Arizona. While Bryan Cranston was being honored for playing one of scariest, most conceited villains in television history, Arizonans were recognizing one of the most humble, honorable and compassionate NFL players on the field today: Larry Fitzgerald Jr. Fitz’s Supper Club on August 25, 2014, was a resounding success and represents what we wish more of our athletes and celebrates spent time doing.

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This sixth year of exclusive event, also known as the Red Party attracted professional athletes, entertainers and business leaders. The funds raised from sponsorships, the $600/plate admission and the silent auction go to Larry Fitzgerald’s non-profit: the First Down Club.

“I was inspired to do something to protect our mothers, sisters, daughters and wives after my mother passed from breast cancer,” Fitzgerald has said about the charity he started in 2005. The First Down Club also helps support after-school programs and other community needs. Before the Party started, Fitzgerald said that he hosts this event because he loves to help others succeed and achieve their goals. The Party was expected to exceed the $250,000 raised last year.

The attendees ranged the gamut from local sports icons, like Phoenix Suns broadcaster Eddie Johnson to musicians like Mike Phillips to young celebrities like Frankie Muniz from Malcolm in the Middle. Representing Arizona businesses were sponsors like Al Molina, owner of Molina’s Fine Jewelers and well-known philanthropist and sports fan in the Valley. “This is a great evening. I am happy for Fitz,” he said before going into Dominick’s, one of the most popular restaurants in Scottsdale.

It was fun to see players out of uniform, like Cardinals running back Robert Hughes with his fine dreads unobstructed by a helmet. The highlight, of course, was seeing Fitzgerald and his teammates in chefs’ coats or aprons, serving food to the crowd.

It is called the Red Party because “red” is associated with passion, love, heat, action and joy. As the camera flashes captured Fitzgerald’s beaming smile, while he greeted the paparazzi along the red carpet, we can also imagine that red stands for "heart."

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