LA Rams' Taylor Rapp fighting anti-Asian hate with NFT launch

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Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp is one of a handful of Asian Americans playing in the NFL and he is looking to help his community, which has seen an increase of brutal attacks across the country.

Rapp, 23, said in a recent interview with FOX Business he is launching his own non-fungible token (NFT) to help fight anti-Asian hate. He will be the latest NFL player to have his own NFT, following Patrick Mahomes and Rob Gronkowski.

“I really got into the NFT collection because everyone around the country has seen all of the horrific hate crimes against the Asian community and even in the past year since COVID-19 and me being Asian American and of Chinese descent that community means a lot to me,” Rapp told FOX Business.

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“I’ve seen all of these hate crimes and the heartbreaking news of all the elderly women, grandpas, getting attacked and all the helpless and vulnerable victims are the targets. We’ve seen a lot of great funds to help out the AAPI community around the country. So I decided, I was like you know what, why don’t I just launch my own NFT collection and then I’ll donate a portion of the sales directly to the AAPI community through different funds and I think I’m going to donate the majority of my donation to the AAPI community fund and I thought it was just an amazing way to just raise money to help out my community and something so dear to my heart.”

Rapp is launching digital artwork to help fight anti-Asian hate. (Taylor Rapp/OpenSea)

Rapp said he’s experienced an increase of attacks against him, especially on social media. He said it’s increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Definitely on social media more. I think now ever since COVID-19 happened, I don’t know why it’s even a thing but the most vulnerable and the most helpless population are the targets, which are grandmas, my grandma and grandpa. We’ve seen videos of literally old grandmas and grandpas walking on the streets and just getting viciously attacked. It seems like more of the most helpless and most vulnerable population are the targets and their getting the targets more. It’s just so sad to see. That’s the main reason why I wanted to launch the collection and be able to raise money to help out the community.”

Rapp’s collection is called Year of the Ox. Fans can bid on the items on Open Sea on Thursday. A portion of the sales will go to the AAPI Community Fund, which has raised nearly $5 million and aims to amplify AAPI voices and protect the AAPI community.

Rapp follows Patrick Mahomes and Rob Gronkowski in NFL players who have launched NFTs. (Taylor Rapp/OpenSea)

There will be 90 NFTs with six different editions. An edition with a red background will be a 1-of-1. The NFT with Rapp’s helmet off will have 10 editions and another will have 24 editions. The winner of the exclusive NFT will also get a meet-and-greet with the defensive back, two tickets to a game during the 2021 season with pregame sideline passes, a signed jersey, signed game-worn cleats, signed game-worn gloves and a signed football. The other NFT winners will also get signed memorabilia and “Zoom sessions” with him.

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Rapp said he believes that NFTs are the future of trading cards and sports memorabilia. The auctions will run from Thursday night starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT to Sunday at midnight/9 p.m. PT.

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