Sunday Dec. 2 NFL players wore customized cleats in the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign to spread awareness for various organizations and causes.
Players from across the league designed their own cleats, highlighting a charity or organization of their choice. This campaign not only promotes various important causes on sport’s biggest stage, but also gives athletes the ability to express their own artistic and creative abilities.
In addition to spreading awareness and promoting their charities, players have the chance to auction off their cleats and various pieces of equipment at NFL auctions, donating the proceeds raised to their specific organization.
In light of all the recent and tragic shootings around the country, from Parkland, Florida to our own Thousand Oaks community, Dallas Cowboys’ Receiver, Allen Hurns, dedicated his cleats to keeping schools and students safe. Hurns grew up near Parkland and the shooting there closely impacted his life; after he was traded to the Cowboys, he changed his number to 17, in order to honor the lives lost in the Parkland School Shooting. In the Thursday Night game Hurns had the first names of all the victims from Stoneman Douglas laid out on his cleats, as he partnered with the foundations Make our Schools Safe to promote student safety.
“Each and every day when I go to practice or when I have a game, I’m also thinking about those families” Hurns said in an NFL video about his cause.
Many players, such as Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers, wore cleats to remember those close to them that have passed away. Adams cleats represented Cystic Fibrosis. Adams became extremely close to a young girl who was an avid Packers fan, after meeting her at the NFL Draft. Two years later she passed away after her battle with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 15. Adams is now using his platform to spread awareness about the disease and help others who are battling Cystic Fibrosis.
“It’s bigger than scoring touchdowns,” said Adams. “The biggest reason about playing is so that you can have an opportunity to give back or use your platform for a good reason.”
More issues that many players tackled were suicide and mental health issues, due to their prevalence in today’s society. One player who represented both mental health awareness and suicide prevention was New England Patriots’ Tight End, Jacob Hollister. Hollister’s cleats promoted the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“I just think it’s something I’m really passionate about when it comes to people who feel like they don’t have any worth in this world and you see an epidemic of that going on in today’s world,” said Hollister. “I think it’s just something that really needs to be focused on.”
Now in its third year, My Cause, My Cleats, has been extremely successful in promoting and raising money for all of the causes represented by players in the league. It is a unique and entertaining experience which promotes charities that addresses issues in society, and is an effective fundraiser for these organizations that allows fans to connect with players.
“Our players are passionate supporters of many charitable causes and serve as changemakers in their communities,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are excited to build upon last year’s success and work with our players to expand this unique platform that enables them to raise awareness for causes they support.”