Sneakers and on-field footwear are one of the only areas the NFL is getting things right. With the My Cause, My Cleats initiative, players are helping promote great causes using their kicks.
The NFL is embroil in turmoil, with negative headlines routinely overwhelming the players and the actual game of football. There is however, on the players feet, some positives. Finally the National Football League gets it. Players needs to have more ways to express individuality.
Players spend most of the game with their faces hidden, and are treated as the most expendable sports commodity this side of teenage soccer hotshots or live baseball arms. The NFL realizes to continue growing in spite of the negative headlines and declining participation rates, the players themselves need to be marketed better.
More from Under the Laces
But the players don’t want the NFL owners controlling that marketing. Players think the owners have too much control as it is, and need to find some leverage for the post-NFL days. With My Cause, My Cleats, the NFL is allowing the players some expression, but only if it helps the NFL project goodwill onto player picked charities.
In short, the players should be able to wear whatever they want, within football reason, for every game. The NFL is only allowing the players this leeway to link itself to more charities. The players should break as much of that link as possible, so they can control their own narrative.
While most players picked health related causes, some branched out into social justice and equality in law issues.
“Our players are passionate supporters of many charitable causes and serve as changemakers in their communities. 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.”
Players will auction the cleats to raise money for their cause at NFL Auction. All proceeds are sent to the player’s charities of choice. Fans may bid on game-issued player cleats to help players raise funds for their chosen causes. This is all wonderful, and the players should push for more of these initiatives.
It short, this is the best small effort by the NFL towards showing it has some humanity left. It is a good effort that has brought some amazing custom cleats. The Cleveland Browns, FanSided’s #1 in the FanSided 250, have one of the best. There will be over 800 pairs for auction.
(Picture Courtesy of the Cleveland Browns)