NFL players are using their shoes to raise money for their favorite charities during this week’s games. More than 500 players are participating in the league’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign. They have the option to then offer them for sale through the NFL Auctions platform, which has already begun offering some of them.
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.
— ♒️ (@YouuGot_MEL) December 4, 2016
Check out some of today’s #MyCauseMyCleats designs!
— New York Giants (@Giants) December 4, 2016
Most aren’t your ordinary shoes. Most will carry messages, unique color schemes or stand out in other ways. Many of the players have worked directly with Nike, Under Armour and adidas to design their cleats.
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen’s cleats told 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, is using 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 special shoes to raise awareness about healthy relationships and mentoring, as part of his SCORE 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 donned gold cleats to support the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) nonprofit organization.
You can see many of the designs through the #MyCauseMyCleats hashtag on Twitter.