PHOENIX – For the sixth consecutive season, NFL players, including 16 Arizona Cardinals, are showing off custom-designed cleats to support charities as part of My Cause My Cleats.
The initiative allows players to support charities close to their hearts in a league that, on the other hand, favors consistent uniforms.
The Arizona Cardinals will show off their creations Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium. Some will support medical research organizations. Others feature social justice and equity groups. But some players have chosen smaller organizations that target specific issues that affect close to home.
Take Byron Murphy. The Arizona native crampons support the National MPS Society, an organization that works to cure, support and defend MPS and ML (mucopolysaccharidosis and mucolipidosis). Her cousins, Kianna and Justin White, suffer from Morquio syndrome, a disease that affects bones, joints and internal organs due to the lack of enzymes.
Morquio syndrome is incredibly rare. It’s even rarer for both siblings to have it, said Leslie Urdaneta, director of family support and communications at the company.
Murphy has “done very great things for society in the past” to honor his cousins, Urdaneta said. On the flip side, the company sponsored Whites to travel to watch Murphy in games, most recently during his college career at the University of Washington. His cousins are Murphy’s biggest fans.
Although Murphy has supported the company for years, his decision to design spiked shoes to wear to an NFL game is a milestone.
Urdaneta said the opportunity to have her organization featured in such a prestigious league is “incredible for us, a small non-profit organization that serves the whole country for rare and rare diseases.”
“Having national recognition is something that so many of our families are hoping for and saying, ‘I wish people would know what it was,’ said Urdaneta. “Just having more people, having more eyes on what’s out there is always helpful. The more people can be informed, it makes a huge difference.”
NFL player and real estate educator
Devon Kennard’s Instagram and Twitter bio section describes the Cardinals linebacker as a “real estate investor, speaker and philanthropist.” He could also add a teacher to this list.
Kennard sits on the advisory board of World of Money, a New York-based organization that teaches financial literacy. There he taught real estate investing to students. And Sabrina Lamb, founder and executive director of World of Money, said the kids don’t even care that Kennard is playing football. “They want to know how they could own real estate and how to think about it,” she said.
This year, Kennard is putting the organization in the spotlight on his crampons.
His decision to honor World of Money this season means visibility for the growing organization.
“While I’ve spoken to professional athletes over the years, many struggle with this same problem: financial education,” Lamb said. “And so we want – Devon, me and my team – we want to support children, but also ignite in professional athletes the spirit of giving, of philanthropy, through empowerment, by giving children the tools they have. need to fly in their life. , to skyrocket in their lives. And then also to encourage other athletes to apply the information themselves, that they can live financially secure lives themselves because many, unfortunately, do not.
Lamb also hopes his organization’s relationship with Kennard will allow them to expand their courses in the Southwest.
“The number 17 US in the world for youth financial education,” Lamb said. “Together with Devon and hopefully the Arizona Cardinals or the Arizona community, we want to provide this inspiring information and experience to the children of Arizona, led by Devon Kennard.”
Fighting for the survivors of trafficking
Cardinals teammates Max Garcia and Jordan Hicks are two of many professional athletes who support the International Justice Mission, an organization that fights against trafficking and slavery, violence against women and children and abuse of power by the police.
The athletes work with Team Freedom, a segment of the organization that is in part headed by Nick Hundley, a former professional baseball player who learned the mission early in his baseball career.
“For the guys to go out there and put our name on their crampons and put their name and their power and their voice beyond our mission, it’s really special. We are very grateful for that, ”said Hundley. “And then the team fans see (the causes of the players). Word spreads, more people are saved. More and more people are being saved from terrible situations which are their nightmare. ”
Garcia traveled with the mission to its field office in the Dominican Republic, which is invaluable to the organization as Garcia speaks Spanish.
“He was able to participate in some government advocacy and he was able to deliver a message on behalf of the IJM in Spanish. Max went very far with us and was able to go out into the field to see the actual work, ”said Maggie Cutrell, the mission’s media director. “It is difficult to describe the type of case. And when you see it first hand, it really takes on a different kind of perspective. “
Cutrell also recalled a moment that impacted the mission when Hicks was with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 when the team made their Super Bowl run.
“After that last playoff game was over, Jordan and five or six other Eagles players looked at each other and texted one of our teammates at IJM and said, ‘How are we using this moment to IJM? “It gives me chills even saying that right now,” Cutrell said. “This core of Eagles players was like, we want to do everything with this amazing platform that we have. And so from that point on, they really used the power in the locker room to bring in other guys, financially and (via) the power of social media.
Hundley reiterated the importance of initiatives like My Cause My Cleats in starting conversations between teammates and between players and fans.
“What do you put on your crampons?” Why are you so passionate about this job? Everyone will have different passions and different callings in their life. But being able to facilitate that conversation in the locker room is amazing, ”said Hundley. “And that’s something I asked for probably way too late in my career. Why doesn’t baseball have spikes for a cause? Why is this not being implemented in different areas? It should be in baseball too.