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Browns players promote philanthropic causes during second year of NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign

Posted Nov 29, 2017

Almost 20 Browns players prepared custom cleats to promote philanthropic causes

As part of the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign, 18 Browns players prepared custom cleats to promote philanthropic causes that have significant meaning to each individual. The My Cause My Cleats initiative, launched in 2016, is a culmination of collaborative work between the NFL and players across the league through which more than 1,000 players plan to raise awareness for charitable organizations and movements by wearing special cleats during Week 13 games. 

Browns players participating in My Cause, My Cleats
Player Cause Notes
OL Zach Banner B3 Foundation Banner’s  foundation that focuses on promoting and building engaged communities for children in Tacoma, Wash., Los Angeles, Calif. and Guam
WR Sammie Coates Pediatric cancer Inspired by Kenzie Ray, a 15-year old with leukemia who he met in Alabama five years ago and has become like family
RB Isaiah Crowell RISE Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) is an unprecedented alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals using sports to bring people together to promote understanding, respect and equality. Through public awareness campaigns and educational programming, RISE aims to improve race relations
OL Spencer Drango Dyslexia Foundation Drango, who was diagnosed with dyslexia, wants to inspire children impacted so that they know they can accomplish any of their goals
DL Myles Garrett Waterboys Waterboys unites players and fans to help bring life-sustaining well water to East African communities in need
WR Josh Gordon Prenatal substance exposureawareness With UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Gordon is raising awareness for mothers and families affected by prenatal alcohol or illicit drug exposure, which has the potential to cause a wide spectrum of physical and developmental challenges
WR Rashard Higgins Kidney disease Higgins’ father passed away as a result of kidney failure, and he wanted to support local kids and families at University Hospitals who are also impacted by kidney disease and complications
RB Duke Johnson Jr. Dade County School District Providing resources to youth in need in his hometown, including for proper conflict resolution
LB Deon King My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and racial equality My Brother’s Keeper Alliance’s vision is to ensure all of the nation’s boys and young men of color have equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity
LB Christian Kirksey American Cancer Society andNational Stroke Association Kirksey recently learned his aunt has bone cancer and his father passed away following a stroke
QB DeShone Kizer The Andrew Weishar Foundation One of Kizer’s close friends was significantly impacted by cancer when he was 18, as well as his connection with The Andrew Weishar Foundation through Notre Dame teammate Nic Weisher
DB Jason McCourty Tackle Sickle Cell Foundation and social injustice awareness McCourty’s foundation with his brother, Devin, is focused on building awareness and fundraising for sickle cell disease, which has impacted multiple family members
TE David Njoku Hands Against Hunger Hands Against Hunger works to provide thousands of meals daily to children in need throughout the world, including Africa
DL Larry Ogunjobi American Heart Association and childhood obesity Prior to starting his football career in high school, Ogunjobi personally struggled with his weight and ultimately lost more than 100 pounds
DB Jamar Taylor Kidney disease anddomestic violence awareness Taylor has been personally affected by kidney complications during his life
TE Randall Telfer Boo2Bullying Boo2Bullying seeks to eradicate bullying, intolerance and discrimination by educating schools and parents about accepting diversity and giving young people the tools to connect with and positively impact those around them
OL Joe Thomas USO of Northern Ohio Thomas, the team’s Salute to Service Award recipient, has been committed to recognizing military members, veterans and their families since being drafted by the Browns
FB Danny Vitale Chris Kyle Frog Foundation The mission of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is to honor God, country and families who serve by providing experiences that strengthen military and first responder marriages and families

On Tuesday, the NFL celebrated the first-ever “Unboxing Day,” when many players showcased their cleats to their team and fans for the first time. Banner, Coates, Drango, Kirksey, McCourty, Telfer, and Vitale unveiled their cleats and spoke about their causes together in the team’s equipment room, while Kizer visited UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and shared the moment with a young patient.

Player quotes, acquired by ClevelandBrowns.com staff writer Patrick Maks, are available below from the individuals who participated in the cleat reveal at the team’s facility in Berea, as well as select quotes from additional players.

Players will have the opportunity to raise funds for the cause of their choosing by auctioning their cleats off at NFL Auction; 100 percent of funds raised will be donated to charities selected by players – all designated charities must have 501c3 status. Fans may bid on game-issued player cleats at NFL.com/Auction and help players raise funds for their causes.

To learn more about the My Cause, My Cleats campaign, visit www.nfl.com/mycausemycleats.

Select player quotes:

OL Zach Banner

“The B3 Foundation is my own personal non-profit that specializes in the three areas that mean most to me: Tacoma, Washington, where I grew up; Los Angeles, California, where I went to school at USC; and Guam, my home island – my mother’s home island. I was the first Chamorro to ever be drafted, the first person from the island to ever be drafted into the NFL. It means a lot to the people there so I wanted to dedicate my first rookie pair [of cleats] to them. The foundation itself specializes in mentoring and bettering youth and in low-income neighborhood, kids that are without.”

WR Sammie Coates

“I didn’t know so much about [pediatric cancer] until I went to go visit [Kenzie Ray] in the hospital, a children’s hospital in Alabama, and I saw so many kids so many young kids that don’t get to leave the hospital for weeks and months. Just being there and seeing that, I remember one girl – she was 16 years old – and she couldn’t go to her prom. That is something every girl dreams of is her prom, and I don’t think a lot of people know how much they go through. I don’t think people understand what that little child goes through on a daily basis.”

OL Spencer Drango

“I chose the Dyslexia Foundation because I am dyslexic. It is a pretty common learning disability that affects kids and really people of all ages as they are growing up. If you don’t know how to handle it, it can put you behind in school and it is kind of discouraging for some kids because in one area, they could be really smart. For me, it was math. Math was no trouble at all, but when it came to language arts and reading, I was falling behind a little bit and I didn’t know why. One year, I went and got tested. It was really easy. My mom went and set it all up, and it took a couple hours to get tested. From there, I went through a program that really just re-taught me how to do things and re-taught me things in a different way, and that was really the biggest thing that helped me. Just because you can’t do something one way, there are a million ways to skin a cat as the saying goes. It helped me with perseverance because if one thing doesn’t work, try it again, try it again, try it again.”

WR Josh Gordon

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to be back on the field just in time for this year’s My Cause, My Cleats. I’ll be wearing my heart on my feet Week 13 to support infants with prenatal substance exposure. Each year, an estimated 15 percent of infants are affected by prenatal alcohol or illicit drug exposure, which has the potential to cause a wide spectrum of physical and developmental challenges for these children and the potential for ongoing challenges in their stability and well-being. This also affects their families if substance use issues aren’t addressed with appropriate treatment and long-term recovery support. Collaborative research, services and early intervention are critical in preparing families for optimal bonding, health, and well-being. Having learned so much on my own path through recovery, I’m really grateful to be in a position to support this cause and help others going through the same struggles.”

LB Christian Kirksey

“First off, whenever you get a chance to go out on the field and play for a different cause, just going out there and trying to win ball games, it is pretty cool to have something significant, something that means a lot to you because real life outside of football, a lot of things happen to players, players’ family members, people they are associated with. It is a cool idea where players can give back and show awareness and show people that they care.

“It just shows you everybody has different problems, but you don’t run from it. Everybody is trying to help each other out and keep each other encouraged so I think what the league allowed us to do is something special.”

QB DeShone Kizer

“For the My Cause, My Cleats this week, I decided to partner with a family foundation from Notre Dame. One of my good teammates and good buddies at Notre Dame, his brother passed away from cancer right before we got to Notre Dame, and they created a family foundation, The Andrew Weisher Foundation, in memory of him. They have been able to immediately impact and ease some of the pressures that come from families who are dealing with cancers of all sorts. I have a relationship with Nick (Weisher), his brother at Notre Dame, has allowed me to become really tight with the family. I’m looking forward to continue to bring awareness to what they have. They do a big music festival called WeishFest that is actually this Friday, which is obviously a coincidence with the My Cause, My Cleats. I’m going to continue to work to promote that allow them to continue to raise funds so they can continue helping these different families.”

TE Randall Telfer

“The cause I chose was Boo2Bullying. We want to stomp out bullying. We want to eradicate it, intolerance and discrimination that is plaguing our schools nowadays. It is a big issue and something that is being overlooked. There are a lot of kids hurting themselves because of low self-esteem, low-confidence due to bullying, and it is something that, me personally, I have seen firsthand when I was growing up. I have had some family members experience it, and it is terrible when you have somebody you love and you see them that low and when they feel that low because of what somebody else said or the way somebody else treated them.

FB Danny Vitale

“One of my best friends from college was a Navy SEAL for 10 years active duty. He introduced me to Taya Kyle, and for everyone who has seen American Sniper, Chris Kyle, her husband who has passed, but basically, that is how I got involved. I had a buddy who has gone through multiple tours and been in Afghanistan, been in Iraq and all that, and when they come back, it is hard for those guys to get back into old lives, their normal lives. There is a little bit of a disconnect between them and their spouse, them and their family so the point of this foundation, in the words of Chris Kyle, is to honor God, country and family, and those families who have served, help them reconnect with their spouses and their families and that family unit. They send them on retreats, help them go to counseling and groups to help them reconnect and find that person they used to be. Since I have a friend that served and has experienced some of those things, it was near and dear to me.”

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