Welcome to NFL Week 13, a.k.a. “My Cause, My Cleats” week. This is one week set aside by the NFL that will allow players to wear customized cleats to promote individual charities and causes.
The NFL, which is notoriously strict with their uniform policy and very liberal with imposing fees against players who violate it, is opening the door for one week to allow players some free charitable expression.
There are a couple of boundaries, however. This week’s custom cleats must honor a specific cause or charity (which the league had to pre-approve), and players must auction off their cleats after the game and donate all of the proceeds to their chosen charity.
Reportedly, more than 500 players will be joining in this weekend wearing customized cleats promoting their chosen causes.
Notable among the participants is Washington Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins who will wear anti-human trafficking cleats when his team plays the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Cousins’ shoes feature the slogan “Until All Are Free” showing his support for the International Justice Mission (IJM) organization.
Cousins has been an advocate for fighting modern day slavery for quite some time. He first became aware of the situation when his father, who is a pastor, had Cousins attend a presentation at church by Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission. Years later Cousins attended a benefit dinner for IJM and was greatly moved by the speaker’s story of a man named, Chinnayan and his wife who were brutally imprisioned, beaten, and tortured by slavers.
“I also wondered,” stated Cousins, “if God could use my platform in professional football to do something, anything, to serve the countless other Chinnayan’s in this world.”