It’s part of the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats initiative.
While the 2017 NFL season will be forever remembered as the year in which players stood up for social justice by taking a knee, this weekend’s matchups will feature players wearing their hearts on their feet.
As part of the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats initiative, every player will wear special cleats representing their favorite charities.
A look at Derek Carr's kicks for the My Cause My Cleats initiative, paying tribute to his college town of Fresno and Valley Children's hospital, where Carr's son Dallas, whose name is also on the cleats, underwent numerous... https://t.co/CBiTLJaBBw pic.twitter.com/CKX6LRIDRp— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) November 29, 2017\n
DeShone Kizer will join the My Cause My Cleats effort Sunday by wearing cleats that promote The Andrew Weisher Foundation, which fights pediatric cancer. Weishar is the older brother of Nic Weishar, Kizer's teammate at Notre... https://t.co/4Bl2Uoc9FL pic.twitter.com/qhyMGmBdrY— PatMcManamon (@PatMcManamon) November 29, 2017\n
Titans receiver Rishard Matthews’ cleats will pay tribute to an NFL player whose absence from the field is undoubtedly the season’s biggest story: Colin Kaepernick. The cleats support Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp, a free campaign for youth that’s fully funded by Kaepernick to raise awareness of higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction on how to interact with law enforcement.
“I dont have a foundation so i have chosen to support my brother @kaepernick7 foundation @yourrightscamp for #MyCauseMyCleats,” Matthews wrote on Instagram. “He has paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring true everyday issues to light.”
Titans WR Rishard Matthews will use Week 13's My Cause My Cleats campaign to support Colin Kaepernick. (via rishardmatthews/IG) pic.twitter.com/Ufk80Kjys3— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 29, 2017\n
Throughout the 2017 season, Matthews has stayed in the locker room during the national anthem except for one game. On the day after Veterans Day, Matthews ran onto the field with military personnel. His brother, Christopher Ruiz, was killed in Afghanistan in 2015.
“If you see wrong and don’t say anything, that’s wrong,” he told ESPN.
“As minorities, what do you want to happen before we say anything? They tried to have a silent protest, and look what happened. It’s your right to stand or sit down. You have that right, that freedom of speech, and you’re not allowing that to happen.”
Matthews has backed up his protests by donating $75,000 to oppressed communities.
I have decided to do more than just Talk & Donate a spread of money amounting to 75k to organizations working in oppressed communities— Rishard Matthews (@_RMatthews) September 28, 2017\n
Matthews is proof that fighting for social justice is no way an affront to those who’ve served in the military. NFL players who kneel do so to ask the country to make good on its promises of justice and equality. Those who demonize kneeling players are clinging to a shallow patriotism that suggests the anthem deserves more respect than the values the country was founded upon.
“They’re trying to use the military as a distraction, unfortunately,” Matthews told reporters. “I’ve actually had a lot of military that I know hit me up and tell me that, you know, ‘good job sticking up for your rights and other people that don't have a voice.’ ”