Five Los Angeles Rams players are wearing custom cleats for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots reflecting their support for causes including providing drinking water in East Africa and autism awareness.
More than 500 players will participate in the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign, the culmination of 18 months of collaborative work between the league and players, according to the league.
Two-time Pro Bowl punter Johnny Hekker is wearing gold, black and red cleats in support of Waterboys, an initiative founded by former Rams defensive end Chris Long, now with the Patriots, which seeks to install wells to provide clean, accessible drinking water to rural communities in East Africa.
Waterboys has funded 14 wells. Its goal is to install 32, representing each of the 32 NFL teams, with Hekker seeking to install the well representing the Rams. Each well costs $45,000 to install, with $13,329 raised for the Rams well, according to Waterboys.
“There are so many things we take for granted living in an established, First World country,” Hekker said. “To help other people experience those basic luxuries is a rewarding thing to be a part of.”
Defensive end William Hayes is wearing green and purple cleats to increase awareness of the HollyRod Foundation. After the oldest son of actress Holly Robinson Peete was diagnosed with autism, she expanded the scope of the foundation she co-founded with her husband, former USC and NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, to include support and resources for families affected by an autism diagnosis.
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson is among 10 players throughout the league wearing gold cleats in support of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality’s effort for all people to be treated with respect and dignity and end racism.
The nonprofit organization was founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross in an attempt to use sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.
Guard Rodger Saffold III is wearing cleats in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles which on Thursday announced the Los Angeles start of the nationwide Bigs in Blue program that pairs children from underserved communities with members of law enforcement who serve as mentors.
Safety Cody Davis is wearing cleats in support of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an interdenominational Christian sports ministry.
Some of the cleats will be auctioned at NFL Auction, with all the funds being donated to the charities selected by the players.
–City News Service
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