NFL players will take the field in some special cleats this Sunday and collectors will have a chance to buy them as part of a fundraising campaign for players’ favorite charities. More than 500 players are planning to showcase their causes on-field during games as part of the league’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign.
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 website to tell the stories behind their cleats via long-form features and profile cards.
Many players worked directly with Nike, Under Armour and adidas to design their cleats, which will be worn on-field for all Week 13 games. Some teams, including the New York Giants and Houston Texans, worked with an independent customizer to design cleats for players on the team who opted to participate in the campaign.
Coaches are participating too, including Bill Belichick, who will raise money for his foundation.
— Bill Belichick Fdn. (@BelichickFDN) November 28, 2017
Every cleat tells a story. Chiefs safety Eric Berry, 2016 Comeback Player of the Year, will use his cleat 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.
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.
Players have been sharing images of their cleats and the stories behind them on social media, using the hashtag #mycausemycleats.
Unboxing Day is finally here.
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) November 28, 2017
— Dawuane Smoot (@Bigsmoot_94) November 28, 2017
“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 can choose to raise money for their charity by selling their cleats on the NFL’s auction website. Some are already up for bid ahead of this week’s games.