NFL players will have the chance to share the causes that are important to them during all Week 13 games, as part of the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign. The initiative is a culmination of 18 months of collaborative work between the NFL and players across the league, and it includes an online storytelling platform, in partnership with The Players’ Tribune. Throughout the season, participating players have worked with The Players’ Tribune to tell the stories behind their cleats via long-form features and profile cards.
More than 500 players plan to showcase their causes on the field during all Week 13 games, and many have worked directly with Nike, Under Armour and adidas to design their cleats.
Every cleat tells a story. Panthers tight end Greg Olsen’s cleats will tell the story of his son, T.J., who survived a heart defect in his infancy, and will raise awareness for congenital heart defects and the HEARTest Yard initiative.
Chiefs safety Eric Berry, 2016 Comeback Player of the Year, will use his cleats to tell the story of his battle with cancer and help raise awareness for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will use his cleats to raise awareness about healthy relationships and mentoring, as part of his SCORE Foundation.
Cardinals running back David Johnson’s cleats will tell the story of his being bullied as a child and his work with STOMP Out Bullying to help other kids going through the same experience.
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis plans to raise funds for the Thomas Davis Defending Dreams Foundation.
Many players have opted to join forces in support of causes they care about, including five players who will wear cleats that tell the stories of communities in East Africa that receive desperately needed clean water through the Waterboys initiative, spearheaded by New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long.
Ten players across the league, including Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu and Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans will wear gold cleats that tell the story of treating all people with respect and dignity and sidelining racism through the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) nonprofit organization.
Beginning this week, players will start sharing images of their cleats and the stories behind them on social media, using the hashtag #mycausemycleats.
“One of the great NFL traditions is how our players passionately support important causes in their communities and around the globe every year,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“They are incredibly creative by nature so we are not surprised how they are seizing the opportunity this week with inspiring expressions of their charitable commitments on their cleats, online and through social media.”
Players will have the opportunity to raise funds for their cause by auctioning their cleats off at NFL Auction; 100% of funds raised will be donated to the designated charities, all of which must have 501c3 status.
A special My Cause, My Cleats themed television spot, which features Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall designing his cleats with kids from his Project 375 foundation, started airing during Week 12 games and will continue airing this week. The spot focuses on promoting awareness of mental health and can be viewed here.
To learn more about the My Cause, My Cleats campaign, visit www.nfl.com/mycausemycleats.