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Pop Culture

After Bills kicker flubbed a big kick, fans and Swifties donate $270K to his cat charity

The Bills Mafia, Chiefs Kingdom and Swifties, of all people, are sending the right message.

Taylor Swift and Buffalo Bills Kicker Tyler Bass.

It can be a tough life being an NFL kicker. You can wind up the hero or the goat when the game is on the line. The problem in today’s sports world is that when athletes have troubles on the field, they are often the target of aggressive bullying on social media.

On Saturday, January 21, Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass missed the 44-yard tying field goal in the Divisional Playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which ended up costing them the game.

“It’s completely on me,” he told reporters after the game. “I’ve got to do a better job of getting through to my target. I’ve got to do a better job of playing it a little bit more left when you have a left to right [wind]. I’ve been here long enough to know that you have to do that.”

After the game, Bass became the target of online harassment and death threats. He has since shut down his social media profiles.

News of Bass’s treatment inspired a diverse group of fanbases to come together to show people the right way to treat players who are the subject of extreme criticism: you do something positive.

Bass supported the Ten Lives Club, a non-profit charity that saves abandoned and homeless cats in the western New York area. “He wanted to help rescue cats, and Tyler took photos with our rescue cats and we were so excited. It's not every day that a Bills player helps our cats, so we were so grateful to Tyler,” Kimberly LaRussa of Ten Lives Club said, according to WGRZ.

The kicker and his fiancée are cat owners.

To show their support, members of the Bills Mafia (the nickname of Buffalo's colorful fan base) called upon one another to donate to Ten Lives Club.

Even though the missed kick propelled the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game, members of the Chiefs Kingdom stepped up to donate money in support of Bass, too. Then, one of the world's most passionate and active fan bases, Taylor Swift’s “Swifties,” joined in asking for donations as well.

Taylor Swift is currently dating Chief's star tight end Travis Kelce. She was at the game when Bass missed the kick.

“There are a lot of Swiftie groups out there that are rallying and donating on behalf of Tyler Bass,” LaRussa told the Today Show. According to WKBW, the non-profit has received over $270,000 in donations in support of Bass.

It’s beautiful to see people supporting Bass when he is dealing with public scrutiny and healing after a heartbreaking loss. But the actions of the Bills Mafia, Chiefs Kingdom and Swifties will make a massive difference in the lives of countless cats for many years to come as well.

“Ten Lives Club saves 3,000 homeless and abandoned cats in need a year, so this will make an incredible difference for our organization,” LaRussa told People earlier this week. “We are so grateful to everyone for their support and for having Tyler's back. We hope this brings him a smile, knowing what a difference he is making.”