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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

Colin Kaepernick to Workout for NFL Teams on Saturday

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We are three years removed from when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem, creating widespread controversy.

The movement Kaepernick sparked was very divisive, as he hoped to bring light to racial inequality and police brutality in this country. While Kaepernick was lauded as a hero by some, he was also antagonized by others and ultimately became a martyr for his cause as he lost his job because of his protest.

No team in the NFL has been willing to sign Kaepernick since he became a free agent in 2017, but maybe tides are turning as the NFL has set up a workout for Kaepernick to meet with all teams interested in his services.

It is worth noting that Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, claiming that team owners were colluding to keep him out of the league. The trial never went to court, with the two sides agreeing to a confidential settlement in February.

While the NFL is giving Kaepernick another opportunity to return to the field, it is fair to question if this is a disingenuous ploy.

Reports indicate that Kaepernick’s representation was told of his workout on short notice and only had a few hours to accept the invitation. It is also being held on a Saturday, which is atypical for this type of a workout.

The odds are still stacked against Kaepernick, with a return to the NFL not being guaranteed just because some teams are going to watch him workout.

One team would still have to be brave enough to bring on all of the publicity that would come with signing Kaepernick, which teams have been hesitant to do in the past.

Still, the bottom line is that Kaepernick is far more talented than some of the quarterback’s we have been watching play over the last couple of years and should still be playing in the NFL.

In Kaepernick’s last season, he had a great 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions thrown.

While he may not be a top starting quarterback in the NFL anymore, it is hard to believe he couldn’t outperform someone like Bryan Hoyer, who just lost a game for the Indianapolis Cots on Sunday.

There are plenty of teams that could use Kaepernick’s services this season and beyond. The question is if any team will actually jump at the same opportunity they have shied away from for three years now.

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Football

Seahawks Give the San Francisco 49ers Their First Loss in NFC West Showdown

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The San Francisco 49ers cruised through the first half of their schedule, winning eight-straight games to start the season.

Featuring a great defense and a dynamic running game, the 49ers looked like the best team in the NFC before facing their toughest test of the season on Monday night against their division rival, the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle has a solid defense in their own right, but the distinguishing factor proved to be the quarterback position, as Russell Wilson is having an MVP-caliber season.

Wilson ended up getting the job done, handing San Francisco their first loss in an overtime affair.

If you want any indication of how back-and-forth this game was, take a look at the win probability chart as momentum shifted countless times throughout the game.

San Francisco jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter and really dominated the entire half in general.

One big turning point came in the second quarter, as Jadeveon Clowney scored the first touchdown of the game for Seattle on a fumble recovery.

Clowney had to be the Seahawks MVP in this game, as he was constantly blowing up plays at the line of scrimmage.

The stats don’t even tell the full story of how incredible Clowney played, putting Jimmy Garoppolo in terrible positions all night long.

Seattle began to run away with the game in the second half, scoring 14 unanswered points to a take a 21-10 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Then it was Wilson’s turn to have a costly fumble, as DeForest Buckner made an incredible play for San Francisco to score a momentum-shifting touchdown on a strip-sack.

The Niners converted the two-point attempt to cut Seattle’s lead to a field goal, once again making it anyone’s game. Ultimately each team traded field goals, with San Francisco sending the game into overtime at the end of the fourth quarter.

Seattle won the coin toss to receive the ball first in overtime and Wilson promptly marched his team down the field in search of the game-winning touchdown.

Wilson then made the most shocking mistake of the day, throwing just his second interception of the season.

Garoppolo was able to get his team into field goal range, but unfortunately for San Francisco, starting kicker Robbie Gould was injured and unable to play this week.

That put rookie Chase McLaughlin on the field in the most pressure-packed moment of the season and the young kicker folded under that pressure.

To get a better understanding of how wide left the kick was, here is the view from the tunnel.

The missed field goal opened the door for Wilson and the Seahawks, as they ultimately got the job done to win their second-straight overtime game.

The win opens up the NFC West division race, as the Niners now have just a half game lead on the Seahawks for first place.

Seattle now has their bye week, so they could be in first before they take the field again on November 24th.

The best part of this season’s rivalry between the Seahawks and the 49ers is that the two teams will meet again for the last week of the season, with the division and a first-round playoff bye likely hanging in the balance.

After watching this Monday night game play out, this matchup has proven to be must-watch television moving forward.

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College Football

Former Michigan State Star Receiver Charles Rogers Dead at 38

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Former Michigan State Spartans and Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers has reportedly passed away at 38 years old.

Rogers’ former teammate Chris Baker confirmed the news on social media, after speaking with the family.

Rogers was a superstar at Michigan State, putting together an incredible two-year run with the Spartans. He still holds school record for his 27 touchdowns, as well as owning the record for most receiving yards in a game with 270.

Randy Moss held an NCAA record for 13 consecutive games with a touchdown catch, until Rogers broke the record during his career.

Across two seasons, Rogers caught 135 passes for 2,821 yards and 27 touchdowns.

In 2002, Rogers won the Fred Biletnikoff Award for being the top receiver in the nation and was a unanimous All-American.

Rogers made one of the great catches in history of college football in a game against Notre Dame, beating double-coverage to make a remarkable catch at the back of the end zone.

Following his collegiate career, Rogers was selected with the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

Due to a combination of injury and substance-abuse related issues, Rogers’ NFL career never quite panned out, as he played 15 games across three seasons before being forced into early retirement.

Rogers is survived by his eight children and mother Cathy.

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