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My Cause, My Cleats: Vernon Davis

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In the worlds of fashion and sports, and popular culture in general, the sneaker reigns supreme. From athletic performance, to street creed, athletes, collectors and style stars all praise at the alter of the sneaker. Or in this case, the cleat.

Vernon Davis, tight end for the Washington Redskins, spoke to SLiC sports ahead of his game versus the NY Giants today about the cleats he would be wearing.

Photo: Getty Images

More than 800 NFL players will showcase their support for the causes and charities that are important to them with their cleats during all Week 13 games. As a part of a collaborative effort with the NFL, players will represent hundreds of charities and organizations that focus on a myriad of social and health issues.

“Our players are passionate supporters of many charitable causes and serve as change makers in their communities,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goddess. “We are excited to build upon last year’s success and work with our players to expand this unique platform that enables them to raise awareness for causes they support.”

Players will have the opportunity  to raise money for their cause of choice by auctioning off their custom designed game-issued cleats at the NFL Auction. 100% of raised money will be donated to the player’s charity.

Vernon Davis has chosen to create his cleats this year to benefit his own foundation; The Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts.

Photo: C/O Vernon Davis Instagram

Vernon Davis has always had a ton of heART and soul. Growing up he knew that showing his interest and love for art was a good way to put a target on his own back. He was made fun of by other kids and learned quickly that having the latest Air Jordans, or becoming great at sports was the only was to be “cool in school”. Although he had talent, he kept it hidden, choosing only to paint in the privacy of his own home.

After working hard and receiving a football scholarship to the University of Maryland, Vernon’s life changed. It set the stage for his future NFL career, but also gave him the freedom to pursue his love of art. He tossed aside his concerns of what others thought about his passion for art and became a Studio Art major. He was later drafted by the 49ers in 2006, that year’s overall 6th pick, in the NFL draft. Now, a 12 year NFL veteran, Vernon Davis has branched out off of the field in many ways (honorary US Men’s Curling Team Captain in 2010 anyone?!?!) but his focus has remained on art.

He launched the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts, and then later his own gallery, Gallery 85, to give artists an opportunity to show their work. Davis’ foundation envisions communities where the arts are vital to social development and represent a positive alternative for youth dealing with stress and peer pressure. Through the arts, Vernon believes that you can find new ways to express themselves, lift their spirits and fulfill their dreams. The foundation promotes art education and appreciation for youth amongst disadvantaged backgrounds. Including but not limited to, gap scholarships to students, and grants for after school programs. Vernon hopes to inspire and empower students to think outside the box, and have a safe, judgement free zone to pursue the arts. He hopes his appreciation of art, and his platform can help mitigate the stigma in some communities of an interest in being artistic in any form; music, visual art, acting or performing.

“Sometimes the kids may not be into art, but I’m still able to make an impact on their lives. I want to get them to a place where it’s not just about paintings; it’s about jazz it’s about acting, anything you can do differently that’s considered as art. There are different realms. Where I come in is to inspire them in a way that they’re not scared. When they see me, they’re free.”

Vernon worked with Soles by Sir on ideas for how his pair would look. The end result was exactly the vivid colors and great brushstroke techniques Vernon had dreamed of. He is beyond thrilled to have been a part of this years program (as he has for many years in the past) and for the opportunity to raise money for the programs and kids he hopes to make an impact with.

Photo: C/O Vernon Davis Instagram

You can bid on Vernon’s game worn cleats, or those of the other NFL players involved in the My Cause, My Cleats program by clicking here.

Click here to learn more about the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts.

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Football

Saints owner vows to pursue changes in NFL policies

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Saints owner Gayle Benson says she pledges to aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies that will promote more “fairness and integrity.”

Benson says it’s clear the Saints were “unfairly deprived” of a trip to the Super Bowl by the inaction of game officials “charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field.”

The Saints owner is referring to officials’ decision not to call a penalty on Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman for his early and high hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis while quarterback Drew Brees’ third-down pass was still in the air.

AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

A penalty would have given the Saints a first down inside the Rams 10-yard line with about 1:45 left and allowed New Orleans to run out most of the remaining time left before trying a go-ahead field goal.

Instead, about 1:41 remained when the Saints took their last lead, and the Rams came back to win in overtime.

Benson has been the sole owner of the Saints since her husband, Tom, died last March.

 

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Eagles’ player who dropped pass thanks 2nd-grader for letter

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Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has been getting lots of support from fans after dropping a critical pass in a playoff game, including from a second-grader who wrote him a supportive letter.

Jeffery stopped by Abigail Johnson’s classroom in West Chester on Thursday to thank her and her classmates at Sarah Starkweather Elementary.

In her letter , Abigail says she thinks he’s “an awesome player no matter what. It takes a lot of practice and courage to catch a ball.”

After Sunday’s loss against the New Orleans Saints, Jeffery said he let all his teammates and the city of Philadelphia down.

Abigail’s teacher, Alli Morris, says she had her students write to Jeffery after they talked about empathy and kindness.

She says they “wanted to boost him up after a tough loss.”

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Chiefs aim to end 49-year Super Bowl drought Sunday vs Pats

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The even-keeled executive with the crisp suit and winning smile stood inside the mostly empty Kansas City Chiefs locker room, his team having just won a home playoff game for the first time in 25 years.

He talked about how much it meant to their long-suffering fans. Spoke glowingly about coach Andy Reid, and his young superstar quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. He praised the rest of a team that captured its third straight AFC West title before knocking off the Colts in the playoffs.

It wasn’t until Clark Hunt was asked about winning the AFC title game that he became emotional.

You see, the Chiefs were founded by his father, the late Lamar Hunt, who along with seven others in what would be called “The Foolish Club” founded the AFL.

The personable Texas businessman’s importance to establishing the modern NFL was honored in 1984, when the league renamed the silver trophy awarded to the winner of the AFC championship game the Lamar Hunt Trophy.

So it’s easy to understand why his son, now the team’s chairman and the most visible face of the ownership family, would have tears in the corners of his eyes at the thought of holding it for the first time with a win over the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

The Kansas City Star via AP

“It’s been a long time coming,” Clark Hunt said. “Since Andy came here we’ve had a lot of shots, but we finally have a chance to win the AFC championship, and to do it at home is so special for us.”

The Chiefs have never played an AFC title game at Arrowhead Stadium. They won at Buffalo to reach the first Super Bowl, and in Oakland on their way to their lone Super Bowl triumph in 1970.

They lost their only other appearance in Buffalo in January 1994.

Indeed, the opportunity to return to the NFL’s biggest stage for the first time in 49 years has been a long time coming. The Chiefs lost eight consecutive postseason games during one maddening stretch, and squandered the No. 1 seed along the way. They had great individual players — Tony Gonzalez, Priest Holmes, Joe Montana — yet never managed to hoist the AFC championship trophy.

Former coach Dick Vermeil, who took the Eagles to the Super Bowl and won it with the Rams, said this week that “my biggest regret” was failing to deliver it during his five seasons in Kansas City.

“It would be great. I mean, when your name is on it, that’s a pretty big thing,” said current Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who still remembers meeting Lamar Hunt during an ownership meeting years ago.

Hunt died in December 2006 at the age of 74.

“To have the opportunity to work with his kids and Clark in particular, I understand the importance of that,” Reid said. “Not that he has to tell me. He doesn’t have to say anything.”

In fact, the Chiefs make sure everybody knows the importance.

“One of the awesome things we do with our player development team is that they take us through the whole history,” Mahomes said. “We come over to the museum that we have in the stadium and they take us through how he made the AFL, pretty much from scratch, and had this vision for what is now the AFC and combined it with the NFL and made this beautiful league.

“It truly is special for someone like that who has created your franchise,” Mahomes added. “You want to do whatever you can to bring honor to him and that family.”

The Patriots are no strangers to hoisting the Lamar Hunt Trophy, of course. They are playing for it for the eighth consecutive season, and the coach-quarterback combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have succeeded in hoisting it eight times since their first real season together in 2001.

But despite a perennial juggernaut standing in the way, there is a profound sense of confidence that surrounds the Chiefs these days, an unabashed optimism that can be felt all around town.

Fountains are colored red — at least, those that haven’t frozen — and Chiefs banners hang off many of the city’s iconic buildings. Fans are streaming into Charlie Hustle, a local vintage clothing store, for their “Arrowhead Collection” of shirts. Those who aren’t making a buck off the Chiefs’ playoff ride are spending a buck to support them, or in many cases several hundred bucks.

The stars are quite literally aligning: There is a “super blood wolf moon” due Sunday night, where the sun, Earth and moon line up and the moon is cast in a rusty (Chiefs-like) red tint.

The fan fever is not unlike the way the city embraced the Royals when they made back-to-back World Series appearances. And when they won the 2015 championship, some 800,000 turned out for the parade.

Imagine how many would show up if the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

“It means a lot just to make it to this point,” said Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, one of the team’s elder statesmen. I’ve never had this opportunity, so I think it will means a lot to me, to (the Hunt family) and to the city.”

Yes, the Hunt family.

Clark Hunt knows better than to plan for parades before games are won. The Chiefs have come up short many times, and the sting of those disappointments still lingers after all these years. Yet the franchise is also on the precipice of something great, a potential salve to make that pain go away.

“It’s very special, obviously, for our entire family,” Hunt said. “It’s one of the goals that I always put out for the players at the beginning of the year. First thing we want to do is win that Lamar Hunt Trophy. Then we want to go to the Super Bowl and win that Lombardi Trophy.”

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・・・
Dear Momma,
 I have a show coming out on @fusetv on Jan 20th at like 8 or something.  I am sending you this as a warning before you watch this show. 
Mostly importantly before the “Church Folk” see it.  I am cussing for the first time in my life on tv.  I apologize 😔
I am also saying bad things about people that I probably shouldn’t say 🤐
But the advice that I am giving @bdotadot5 to better himself in this show is really what life is all about! 
Please don’t hurt me momma.  If you don’t like the show I will ask @fusetv to take it down. 🤥

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