If you noticed that multiple Dallas Cowboys’ and Minnesota Vikings’ players had different footwear on Thursday night, you were not alone. The “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign is, according to this press release from NFL communications, “a culmination of 18 months of collaborative work between the NFL and players across the league.” In a league notorious for stamping out individuality, this is a tremendous opportunity for players to show support for the individual causes which drive them to continue playing the game they love.
When the Buffalo Bills take on the Oakland Raiders this Sunday afternoon, there will be a plethora of Bills showing off their causes via their cleats.
Tyrod Taylor will be repping the Olmsted Center, an organization which assists people who have lost their eyesight. Taylor stated in an Instagram post that his cousin lost his eyesight at a young age. The center is located in Corona (Queens), and has a retreat in the Hudson Valley town of Cornwall.
Jerry Hughes’s camouflage cleats represent our active, retired, and future members of the United States Armed Forces. Similarly, Richie Incognito will wear cleats in support of the Veterans One-stop Center of Western New York, an organization which assists veterans and their immediate families.
Colton Schmidt will wear cleats in support of the Fire Family Foundation, a charity which supports fire fighters, their families, victims, and charities. LeSean McCoy will wear cleats in honor of his “Nanna,” who passed away from complications due to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He wants to raise awareness to find a cure for the debilitating disease, which wreaks havoc on the central nervous system.
Marquise Goodwin and Leger Douzable will each represent causes that are extremely close to their own lives, as well. Goodwin will wear his cleats in honor of his sister, Deja, who is afflicted with cerebral palsy (CP). The disease affects muscle control and the brain, and Goodwin’s inspiration was profiled by ESPN’s James Walker and E:60 back in 2013. Douzable, on the other hand, will wear cleats supporting the New Story Charity, which builds safe, sustainable homes in areas like Douzable’s home country of Haiti.
This is only a small sample of the causes Buffalo Bills players will bring attention to today during the game. Each cause is unique, and each cause is well worth a deeper look. While the magnitude of today’s game can’t be overstated in terms of football, an initiative such as this really puts things into perspective. These players all have deeper reasons for playing, and good on them and the league for affording them the opportunity to express those reasons.