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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

Madden Player Ratings Released

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There is only one video game on the market when it comes to football and that game is Madden.

Madden has become a part of the NFL in a lot of ways, with the “Madden Cover Curse” being one of the themes we here talked about during the season.

Another annual tradition when it comes to Madden is the release of player ratings, as they are a great indicator for a player’s perceived value.

Well it is that time of the year again, as EA Sports has announced those ratings ahead of the game’s release at the beginning of August.

Do you think Phillip Rivers is a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers?

No, well Madden does.

Aside from underrating of one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL, there isn’t too much to dispute when it comes to the quarterback ratings. Here are the ratings for the top running backs and wide receivers.

For my money, Saquon Barkley is the best running back in the NFL, but Madden thinks he still has to follow up his rookie season to pass Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliot, Le’Veon Bell and Melvin Gordon on their rating list.

As far as receivers, DeAndre Hopkins proved to be the best receiver in the NFL, by going a year without dropping a pass, and rightfully deserved to be the only skills position player with a 99 rating.

He wasn’t however the only player to receive a 99 rating, as Madden crowned four players worth of that distinction.

The other three 99 rated players all play defense, as Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald and Bobby Wagner have all proven to be elite on that side of the ball.

Madden 20 will be released on August 2nd and will be available on all major gaming platforms.

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Football

Ezekiel Elliot Threatening Hold Out to Land New Contract From Cowboys

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If you have been watching the Dallas Cowboys closely over the past three years, you know that Ezekiel Elliot is the engine that makes them go.

When Zeke is out there eating and picking up first downs, the Cowboys can be one of the powerhouses in the NFC. Without him, they are just another pedestrian team fighting it out for a Wild Card spot.

Because of his immense value to the team, Elliot is contemplating a holdout for the upcoming season, as he tries to secure a massive payday before it is too late.

The problem for the Cowboys is that Elliot is not the only player due to get paid. Dallas also has to come to terms with last season’s trade prize, Amari Cooper, who they dealt a first round pick to acquire.

Also let’s not forget about the quarterback, as Dak Prescott is due for a new contract as well.

The question remains if the Cowboys can really afford to pay all three players market value, without sacrificing nearly all of the their room under the salary cap.

One of the interesting developments for the Cowboys to monitor is how the Los Angeles Chargers handle their situation with fellow Pro Bowl running back Melvin Gordon.

Like Elliot, Gordon wants a new contract, but is demanding a trade if he doesn’t get one. The Chargers coming to terms with Gordon could establish a market for Elliot. The problem is that whatever market that is, the Cowboys will have to exceed it to keep Elliot.

The one holdup in Elliot getting paid is that he has been a constant problem off the field, as he continues to find himself in legal trouble.

Putting the legal troubles aside, there is no dispute that Elliot is one of the best players in the NFL and worthy of getting paid.

Elliot has averaged 4.7 yards per carry through his first three seasons in the NFL and has led the league in rushing twice.

Since coming into the NFL, the only year Elliot didn’t led the league in rushing was in 2017, when he only played 10 games due to a suspension.

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Basketball

Tom Brady’s Newest Target

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Yesterday in an undisclosed location, former NBA All-Star Baron Davis was seen running routes for the six-time Super Bowl champion (and probably greatest quarterback of all time) Tom Brady. 

Future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski still hasn’t announced whether or not he will return to the Patriots this upcoming season to defend their Super Bowl championship. 

Maybe Brady is testing out some new targets in case Gronk decides to stick with retirement. 

Baron Davis showed off his hands snagging a bullet TB12 threw him in the video below.

Video from @iambarondavis Instagram

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