Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer holds the Phoenix Children's Hospital cleats he will wear Sunday against Washington. Below are the cleats for Larry Fitzgerald and Tyrann Mathieu.
When Carson Palmer walks on the field Sunday to play against Washington, his cleats will look different than normal.
They will show off the tiny handprint that is the logo for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the quarterback’s chosen cause for the initial “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign the NFL and The Player’s Tribune have teamed to unveil this season.
In a league with strict uniform codes – the NFL has a representative at every game checking uniforms, and players who don’t adhere are fined – it’s a break from those guidelines.
“It’s great the league does it.,” Palmer said. “Whether it be the military, Breast Cancer Awareness or this, they are so strict it makes things like this stick out even more. Which is the reason -- they want to bring awareness to certain charities. It makes it that much more noticeable.”
Every player from around the league was given the opportunity to create custom cleats for this weekend’s games. Players can take part in an auction of the cleats after the games to raise money for their respective charities.
Three players have had theirs in place. Palmer has his pick of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is representing his own First Down Foundation. Safety Tyrann Mathieu has gold cleats make him one of a handful of players across the league representing RISE (the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality), a group using athletes to promote racial healing.
“It’s been a rough year for racial divide in our country, so for me, it was important to symbolize all of us coming together, all of us treating each other as equals,” Mathieu said.
Palmer said he’s done “a bunch of stuff” with PCH, and his children have been there at different times. Their ability to help pay bills for families who cannot afford the treatment is important, he added.
Among those also taking part: center A.Q. Shipley (breast cancer), Patrick Peterson (Peterson's Foundation for Success) and David Johnson (bullying).
Then there is Fitzgerald, who has used his First Down foundation to help families in various need.
He doesn’t think his cleats are too gaudy – “They wouldn’t be, ‘Wow, what does he have on his feet?’ ” – but he likes the ability for players to take part in such an initiative.
“I think it’s a really good idea for the NFL,” Fitzgerald said. “It gives the players a chance to promote and publicize some of things they do that is positive off the field. So much you hear (off the field) is mostly negative off the field. I think it’s always good to positively promote guys.”