It’s in the shoes.
At least, it certainly will be this week when more than 1,000 NFL players will participate in the 'My Cause My Cleats' campaign that began in 2016 and raises awareness for countless non-profit organizations. Players without home games this week will be able to wear their cleats in Week 14.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, "'My Cause My Cleats' was created out of conversations with NFL players who wanted an opportunity to shed light on causes that mean the most to them. Season after season, I am inspired by the growing number of NFL players that participate in 'My Cause My Cleats' and the causes they represent. Each player has a story to tell and we are grateful for the impact they make in the communities in which they live and work, and society in general."
A large number of Cardinals players will be part of the effort, including tackle Kelvin Beachum, who is part of a TV spot supporting the Players Coalition that will be broadcast next week.
Beachum is also bringing attention to “the digital divide that has been something that's been exacerbated throughout the pandemic, where you have people who have and people who have not as far as access to WiFi, access to internet, access to high-speed internet. You think about what's going on here in Arizona, with the Navajo Nation and not having access to some simple resources. The digital divide and access to technology and devices is something that I find troubling. It's something that I wanted to lend my name to and this year's cause to. I've done a lot with STEM education for a number of years: science; technology; engineering; and mathematics.
“This year I wanted to be able to talk about the digital divide because that's something that's been going on for the last couple of years. But I think this year has been an area where people really see the stark differences between communities that have access to the internet. My daughter is actually in the kitchen right now. It's going to be 11 o'clock, and she's going to get ready to go to her next live session. I realize how important that is because I'm having to go through it.”
Several Cardinals players are highlighting Phoenix Children’s Hospital, including running back Kenyan Drake, who specifically supports pediatric care.
Drake said, “I just want to be able to represent something that is near and dear to me and kids have always been at the forefront, whether I'm working with PCH or the Boys and Girls Club, or Smile Train or a number of any other endeavors that I partake in. I just want to make sure that I put positive energy and vibes and into the youth because when you do that to the youth, you tend to build a better and brighter future because those kids do the same thing by passing down that knowledge and that information that they may receive from me or just my presence.
“I enjoy their innocence and being around them as much as they probably enjoy being around me. I'm just very gracious and appreciative of the platform that I have to be able to do that.”
Drake recalled his first contact with a few other players that was facilitated by the Cardinals when he visited the children’s cancer center of the hospital.
“They had like a bear that had my number (41) on it and I still actually have one of the bears in my house that has my little jersey with a Christmas hat on,” he said. “And from that point on, I saw the effort that the team put into the lives of these kids that are unfortunately going through an ailment and I wanted to be involved in that. And I decided to pick them for 'My Cause My Cleats' this year based upon that.”
He saluted the Cardinals “who do their job diligently to put us out there to help these kids in any way possible.”
The following are Cardinals players, in addition to Beachum and Drake, along with their cause.
DT Zach Allen / BCA / American Cancer Society
CB Prince Amukamara / Others Foundation / Others Foundation
LS Aaron Brewer / Phoenix Children's Hospital / Phoenix Children's Hospital
C Mason Cole / Pediatric Research / Charles Woodson Clinical Research
TE Darrell Daniels / Stroke / National Stroke Foundation
RB Chase Edmonds / Development of Girls / Girls Inc.
LB Kylie Fitts / End Child Trafficking / Love146
WR Larry Fitzgerald / BCA / First Down Fund
RB D.J. Foster / Smile Train / SmileTrain.org
LB Dennis Gardeck / Brain Cancer / Phoenix Children's Hospital
K Zane Gonzalez / NICU Assistance / Phoenix Children's Hospital
QB Brett Hundley / Epilepsy / The Hundley Foundation
WR Andy Isabella / Fight Against Hunger / Saint Mary's Food Bank
WR Christian Kirk / Youth Hunger / Living Through Giving Foundation
CB Dre Kirkpatrick / Disadvantaged Youth / 21 Kids Foundation
DL Rashard Lawrence / Child Cancer Awareness / St. Jude's Children's Hospital
P Andy Lee / NICU Assistance / Madelyn's Fund
G Koda Martin / Mental Health / Fellowship of Christian Athletes
CB Byron Murphy Jr. / Smile Train / SmileTrain.org
QB Kyler Murray / Surf1 Leigh Syndrome / Cure Surf1
G Justin Murray / AutoImmune Disease / American Autoimmune Association
NT Corey Peters / Youth Literacy / Peters Educational Enrichment
G Justin Pugh / Youth Wellness / Fuel Up to Play 60
LB Haason Reddick / Racial Equality Act / Blue Charities
LB Isaiah Simmons / Racial Equality Act / Blue Charities
TE Maxx Williams / American Red Cross / American Red Cross
Photo: Arizona Cardinals