Week 13 of the NFL not only brings playoff implications, but it also brings My Cause My Cleats. You will see players all over the league sporting cleats that represent causes that have meaning to them.
Many members of the San Francisco 49ers will be participating when they take the field in Seattle.
“Guys love to wear crazy cleats…and the players love to give back to the communities, and give back to the people who are in need,” said defensive lineman Cassius Marsh. “That’s a positive and the NFL is helping us do it. The 49ers were great this year, they brought in an artist to do everybody’s cleats. You didn’t have anything to worry about. You just told them what your cause was and they’d come up with a great and give you a beautiful art on your cleats.”
Cornerback Richard Sherman will be returning to his former stomping grounds at Century Link Field, and he will do it in cleats that raise awareness about his foundation, Blanket Coverage Foundation, which works to provide assistance to underserved youth.
“…[I]n the inner city and places where I’m from, I don’t think kids get a fair opportunity at getting an education, or further learning, or just an opportunity to be successful at life in general,” Sherman said. “And so I wanted to change that. I wanted to make an impact. Just give kids the tools: the pens, the paper, the backpacks – to be successful, to give them a chance to go to school and learn, and not be stressed, and think you have to beg somebody or ask the teacher constantly for supplies.
We’ve also given scholarships because college is expensive, and nowadays some colleges have programs that allow kids who have parents that don’t make a ton of money to get scholarships and to get free tuition. But not every school does that, so a lot of people are limited, in what they can go for because they don’t have the money to go to school, and I think that’s unfortunate as well. I think everybody should be afforded the opportunity to go to college and give themselves a chance at the American dream, and I don’t think it’s necessarily happened that way. That’s what we try to do.”
Beyond that, Blanket Coverage Foundation is working to help the homeless, which has become a major issue in California.
“…[Y]ou just hate to see people fall bad on their luck and especially kids out on the streets, living in cars, and so we do our best, especially during the holiday season,” Sherman said. “Just put smiles on their faces, put blankets, and do whatever else we can, feed them, to make their lives a little easier.”
Rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis, who is a lover of the arts, will wear cleats representing DrawBridge, a Bay Area non-profit which, per its website, “provides art programs for homeless and other underserved children in an environment that inspires creativity, joy, self-confidence and hope.”
The arts as a way benefit mental health is an area that Pettis feels passionate about.
“I know that people close to me that have struggled some mental health problems have found kind of a release in art.” Pettis said. “It’s just a way to express themselves and a lot of times they don’t like to say what they’re feeling so if they can write it or paint it, dance it out, whatever it is, I know that helps them at least get some things off their chest.”
As for the cleats themselves, “I just kind of told [the artist] what I wanted and I trusted him,” Pettis said. “That’s one thing, you trust the artist to do what they do and I’m really excited and happy how it turned out.”
Cassius Marsh’s cleats are dedicated to SAVE, as he is raising awareness about depression and suicide prevention.
“I recently had one of my best friends from growing up, Jason Franklin, probably one of my closest best friends, one of the best people I know, recently took his own life,” Marsh said. “There’s a bunch of different reasons why – he was a football player they say it’s possible concussions or other things – but I just want to do it honor of Jason. I know there’s a lot of people out there who have lost folks, loved ones, and a lot of people in pain…I’m trying to bring awareness to those people and help them get help. Help them find somebody to steer them in the right direction, someone to bring them back to the place where they love each other, where they love themselves.”
Earl Mitchell’s cleats are dedicated to Connor’s Cure, as his cause is pediatric cancer.
Connor’s Cure is funded through the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and founded by the WWE’s Stephanie McMahon and Paul “Triple H” Levesque in honor of Connor Michalek.
“I had a cousin who passed away from cancer when she was eight years old,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been able to visit a lot of kids since I’ve been in the NFL, so lots of time you take these hospital visits and you see a lot of these kids that have cancer and you see how much they fight. I just thought it was a cool way to incorporate two things that I love which is what the WWE has done for Connor’s Cure…a cool way to just honor those kids and honor those warriors who are fighting every day.”
Even though he won’t be playing, running back Raheem Mostert will still be repping the Melanoma Research Foundation with his cleats.
“…I went to a dermatologist and I recently found out this past offseason that I have a precancerous mole,” Mostert said. “…So, when I was getting my moles removed…that’s one thing that stuck to me and I wanted to do it ever since. I got in touch with the Foundation and we’ve been working on prevention stuff since then. So, that’s what I’m doing this year.”
Wide receiver Richie James’ cleats will focus on Intellectual Disabilities and the Special Olympics, specifically the Special Olympics of Northern California.
“We had an opportunity in college to go to a Special Olympics event,” said James with a big smile on his face. “We hosted it at our school, and I had the opportunity to go there and meet a lot of Special Olympic kids that put a lasting impression in my mind.”
Full List of 49ers and My Cause My Cleats Causes:
Arik Armstead – 91Six Equal Opportunity Education
C.J. Beathard – Austen Everett Foundation
DeForest Buckner – Beyond Differences: Inspiring Youth to End Social Isolation
Adrian Colbert – Next Door Solutions
Sheldon Day – Boys & Girls Club Silicon Valley
Pierre Garçon – Pierre Garҫon Helping Hands Foundation/David Clowney Foundation
Marquise Goodwin – March of Dimes
Robbie Gould – Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago
Richie James, Jr. – Special Olympics of Northern California
D.J. Jones – Cityteam
Kyle Juszczyk – Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
George Kittle – Pat Tillman Foundation
John Lynch – John Lynch Foundation
Greg Mabin – New Teacher Center
Cassius Marsh – SAVE
Mike McGlinchey – Autism Speaks
Earl Mitchell – Connor’s Cure
Alfred Morris – 49ers EDU
Emmanuel Moseley – Unity Care
Raheem Mostert – Melanoma Research Foundation
Kyle Nelson – JW House
Dante Pettis – Drawbridge
Bradley Pinion – Convoy of Hope
D.J. Reed – Multiple Sclerosis Society
Richard Sherman – Blanket Coverage Foundation
Jaquiski Tartt – NorCal Epilepsy Foundation
Trent Taylor – End Slavery Tennessee
Solomon Thomas – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Semi-colon Project
Laken Tomlinson – 49ers PREP
Dekoda Watson – Koda’s Kids Foundation