Several members of the Pittsburgh Steelers participated in ‘My Cause My Cleats’ during Monday night’s game. The athletes represented and supported charities and foundations by wearing custom cleats.
Steelers cornerback Joe Haden wore cleats in support of Special Olympics.
“I think it’s really good to be able to do something like this,” said Haden, the Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. “You have a lot of people in the league that have a lot of stuff going on at home with their families, things they care a lot about, that mean a lot to them. For the league to let us do this is special.”
Haden’s brother, Jacob, has been a Special Olympics athlete since he was a child.
“He is one of my best friends,” said Haden of Jacob. “I have four younger brothers. Three play college football and he is a Special Olympian. He has always been doing it, bocce ball, track. We would always go to those events. My third or fourth year in the NFL I ended up becoming the Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. I would go to the regional games. It was a great time. They would have flag football, bocce ball, track, basketball. It was just so much fun to see how much joy we brought to those kids just to play the games.”
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 6, 2020
Defensive tackle Cameron Heyward honored his late father, Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward, by representing the V Foundation for Cancer Research during the NFL’s ‘My Cause My Cleats’ week. The V Foundation was created by ESPN in honor of Jim Valvano, a former N.C. State basketball coach.
When Craig Heyward was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1998, he was forced to retire from the NFL, a league in which he had played for 11 years.
“He continued to live life,” said Heyward. “I know it hurt having football taken away, but he wasn’t going to sulk.”
Meanwhile, Heyward also honors his late father in many other ways throughout the Pittsburgh community. ‘Craig’s Closet’ provides young men with suits for various occasions.
“It’s very important to me,” said Heyward. “The idea came from my dad. When he grew up, he only had one suit. A lot of his friends didn’t have suits at all. This is a creative way we thought of to give back to the community and help prepare young men for jobs, or homecoming, moving forward in life. You never know how much a suit can help present yourself.”
Tight end Vance McDonald chose to honor his own foundation on Monday night. The Vance McDonald Foundation aims to provide a place for relaxation to faith-based leaders in the Pittsburgh community.
Last year, McDonald purchased a farm with 130 acres of land that he plans to use for his family and his foundation.
“We are reserving the place for a sanctuary and a place of respite for those leaders,” said McDonald. “We will host them, allow them to stay and enjoy some beautiful scenery so they can get away from their jobs and be able to refill so whenever they go back they will be able to pour into others.”
Many NFL players, including McDonald, are grateful to participate in ‘My Cause My Cleats’ so that they can share things that they care about.
“There are a lot of great things being showcased that fall behind the scenes,” said McDonald. “It’s cool to have that week that you get to showcase what you are passionate about.”
As a result of his work for the community, McDonald has been named the 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for the Steelers.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 10, 2020
Featured Image Courtesy of Steelers.com
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