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December 3, 2021

One way RISE educates on how sports can be a vehicle for change is through special apparel athletes and teams wear. In December, players and staff from one of the NFL's top teams this season are wearing custom-made RISE cleats as part of the league's My Cause My Cleats initiative to continue educating and empowering the sports community to end racism and champion social justice.

The My Cause My Cleats campaign, which is in its sixth year, allows NFL players and staff to raise awareness for nonprofit organizations and causes on the field.

“Racism and social injustices, it's a big topic that needs to be discussed and it's an uncomfortable conversation that needs to be had more often,” said Los Angeles Rams Safety JuJu Hughes. “With our platform [as NFL players], it eases that conversation. Everyone loves us for sports, but we get them to listen when we talk about things of this nature.”

Hughes and Rams teammates Robert Rochell and David Edwards, along with Rams football personnel such as Director of Football Affairs Jacques McClendon, are wearing RISE cleats and shoes for the Rams home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 5. Their custom-designed footwear includes messages such as “Against Hate” and “End Racism” to support RISE's mission of ending racial discrimination, championing social justice and improving race relations.

As part of My Cause My Cleats, Hughes and Rochell joined Los Angeles-area high school football coaches Cisco Saldana of MACES, Jacob Ochoa of Glendale and Daniel Davidson of Western, and RISE Senior Director, Curriculum, Dr. Collin Williams Jr., for a conversation on Champions of Change: The RISE Podcast to discuss the importance of using sport to address racism and empower young athletes to be leaders for racial justice and inclusion in their communities.

The coaches are part of this season's RISE with the Rams leadership program. The program, which is running for the fourth consecutive season, brings together athletes and coaches from five local high school football teams that represent a cross section of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. The goal of the program is to develop leadership, understanding, acceptance and cultural competence for high school athletes, coaches and Los Angeles Police Department officers.

Hughes Cleats

“This is a huge topic in this day and age, and sometimes you just need bigger voices to push and support things, and I stand behind what RISE stands for, because you see it day in and day out with racism and social injustice and problems in the communities” said Rochell, who added his friends and family have experienced racism and been victims of discriminatory policing in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Following the My Cause My Cleats campaign, players have the opportunity to put their cleats up on the NFL Auction site to raise funds for the organizations they support. Please check back after the weekend to see how you can support RISE. You can also visit our Donate page today by clicking here.

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