During Week 14 of the 2019 season, players across the NFL took the time to promote causes close to their hearts via the “My Cause My Cleats” campaign. From disease awareness to causes greater than themselves, NFL players promoted lots of noble organizations and initiatives as they took the field on those cold December days.
What is ‘My Cause, My Cleats’?
The NFL has often been accused of not caring about issues away from the football field. From news stories about Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid’s protests to the punishment of players using equipment to pay tribute to dead relatives, the league’s track record on these matters isn’t clean.
Even in the face of this event, the athletes aren’t allowed to wear the shoes during the game — only during the pre-game warmups. This is, perhaps, a likely reason why the NFL unveiled this event.
NFL Commissioner Goodell expressed why he thinks it’s important for players to be able to express themselves through cleats on this occasion.
“Our players are passionate supporters of many charitable causes and serve as changemakers in their communities,” he said. “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.”
Once the shoes are worn, the players auction them off. The proceeds go to the charities represented on the cleats. In addition to benefitting worthy causes, the cleats give fans insight into their favorite NFL players. Here are some of the most notable cleats from “My Cause My Cleats” 2019.
Aaron Rodgers’ cleats
Aaron Rodgers supported victims of last year’s devastating Camp Fire in Northern California. The Camp Fire devastated the community of Paradise, which was nearly decimated by its flames.
Rodgers is from the affected area and has publicly raised support for it in the year following the tragic event. The cleats have a beige and brown aesthetic with imagery and messages like #ParadiseStrong.
Tom Brady’s cleats
Brady raised $12,100 for a variety of charities with his cleats, which were designed by Under Armour. The blue and orange shoes featured the logos of The TB12 Foundation, Best Buddies, the Navy Seal Foundation, the Pat Tillman Foundation, the Ellie Fund, the Jimmy Fund, the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation, and the Tom Martinez Goal Line Fund.
Todd Gurley II’s cleats
The Tennessee Titans quarterback represented M.A.D.E. SPORTS, Gurley’s foundation. The organization helps kids utilize sports as an avenue to succeed while doing something productive.
Gardner Minshew’s cleats
It won’t shock anybody that Gardner Minshew, owner of one of the best mustaches in sports, would use his platform to promote Movember. Although the event already passed this year, Minshew noted that the cause remains.
Movember raises awareness for testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. With not-so-subtle branding on Minshew’s end, the shoes had nuts printed on them on a blue background.
Shaquem Griffin’s cleats
The Seahawks linebacker had one of the best looking cleats. The mostly black design featured bumps across the top of the shoe in a cool pattern. These draw attention to the Special Olympics, a cause close to many athletes’ hearts.