Football 2

NFL Players Support ‘My Cause My Cleats’

Charities are always looking for donations and hoping to catch the eye of someone or something huge that they can benefit from; and the My Cause My Cleats program is no different. Currently in its fourth year, My Cause My Cleats have several causes including health and wellness, initiatives focused on younger NFL supporters, as well as raising cancer awareness. In week 14 of the National Football League, over 900 players wore boots specifically created to help raise awareness for the charity.

For example, Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers is a huge supporter of the North Valley Community Foundation, working towards aiding those affected by the wildfires in his native Northern California.

“Last year, when the camp fire happened, I immediately got in touch with some close friends there, the mayor of Chico, and just looked into what the need was and where my money could best be spent. After talking with the North Valley Community Foundation a number of times, I felt really good about what they’re all about. They’ve raised almost $100 million, which is unbelievable. It’s been a lot of small donations and then a lot of really big ones from across the country and north state [Northern California].”

They’ve done some amazing things such as helping to rebuild Paradise, just the area, and make sure that all the programs that need funding are funded. So team members are wearing cleats that have a lot of emblems and words associated with northern California and Paradise and California Fire, Paradise Strong.

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“There’s still individuals who are waiting for help as well. The awareness of it needs to stay up because this is a 10-to-15-year rebuild for an area that I called home for a number of years growing up … I was born there. We moved back. I lived there for a few off-seasons, as well, in Chico, which is 10 minutes from Paradise, and I knew a lot of people who had family and friends up there.”

Many of the players have worked alongside The Shoe Surgeon, ensuring their boots have the customized designs they specifically wanted. Los Angeles Rams player Todd Gurley and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott both had their shoes custom made by the designer, alongside Rodgers. Prescott has concentrated on his own charity – The Faith, Fight, Finish Foundation – a charity that works to help fight cancer as well as supporting people with life-challenging issues. While Gurley has opted for M.A.D.E. SPORTS who work with children through sport, encouraging them to understand the difference they can make to society.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has San Francisco’s defensive lineman Solomon Thomas in their corner, who takes part in their Out of Darkness Walk, raising much needed money for AFSP. Thomas comments:

“I lost one of the most important people in my world to suicide earlier this year. I will be walking for her and for everyone who suffers from the pain she felt. Ella was my sister. Ella was my best friend. She loved harder than she could breathe. She filled a room with such a strong presence that it would light up the room. She made my life go…”

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“Having Ella as my sister was the greatest gift this life has given me. She taught me to be myself, to make everyone feel loved, to appreciate everything in front of me, and so much more. She was so perceptive and so compassionate. I will live every day for my amazing sister.”

Many players throughout NFL believe My Cause My Cleats is possibly the program that their supporters can connect the most with, with Philadelphia Eagles star Rodney McLeod stating:

“I think it’s great and important that the NFL encourages players to participate in My Cause My Cleats. It is imperative that we get to express our philanthropic endeavors. The causes I’ve chosen are so important to me, and likewise, the causes represented across the league this week mean so much to a lot of us players and define who we are as men off the field.”

The Student Health Impact Project (SHIP) is one of McLeod’s causes and a few months ago he went to the Olney Charter High School in Philadelphia to open a comprehensive student health and wellness center as part of his ‘Healthy Attitude Campaign’. The center is central to the students’ well-being and ‘will have an immediate, positive effect on the students as well as its surrounding community.’

There is also the option of the players auctioning off their cleats at the NFL Auction where 100 per cent of the funds raised getting donated to all the charities the players have selected.