"My Cause, My Cleats": Texans Lonnie Johnson, Jr. Continues to Use His Platform To Support His Hometown

Patrick D. Starr

Houston Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. was one of the lucky ones according to his nickname "Lotto." The rookie cornerback is one of the lucky ones that made it out of his hometown of Gary, Indiana. Gary is one of the more violent areas in the country, and Johnson is using his platform in the NFL trying to make a difference in his community. 

Earlier in the season, Johnson paid for the funeral costs of 14-year-old Curtis Walton Jr., a football player at Calumet High School from his hometown, who accidentally drowned. 

For the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats, he is using the cause to support Team Enough, which is a youth-led initiative that educates and mobilizes young people in the fight to end gun violence.

Johnson knows how real gun violence can be from personal experience, and that is why he is supporting what Team Enough stands for in their mission.

"We need to slow down on actually stop it," Johnson explained. "Especially in my city, you know, a lot of people die from gun violence in my city so so I chose to do this."

Throughout the season, Johnson uses Jeremy Thompson, better known as "Showtime," to customize his game cleats. Thompson went to work to create the cleats that Johnson will wear on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

"Jeremy, in Kentucky, he actually did these cleats for me," Johnson said of the creation of his cleats. "He does all my cleats, but they came out perfect exactly the way I wanted them. I just wanted to let everybody know what I was doing and why I was doing it for."

The vision of what Johnson wanted to do with his cleats came during his junior season at the University of Kentucky. With NFL aspirations, Johnson knew if he ever received the chance to be part of the My Cause, My Cleats, he knew what he was going to do. 

"I actually thought about this my senior year, no junior year in college," Johnson said of supporting Team Enough. "So once I saw they started doing in the NFL, I was like when I make it one day, this going to be the first thing I'm doing."

During the off-season, when players are asked to start getting ideas for their cleats, Johnson was more than ready to put his plan into reality. 

"It was a no brainer," Johnson said with a smile. "Like I already knew."

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