Chiefs players take part in cleats campaign for charity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ten Kansas City Chiefs will wear special edition cleats during Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons that reflect their commitment to philanthropic causes and help raise funds for charitable organizations nationwide.

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry will wear cleats supporting awareness for Hodgkin’s lymphoma during the NFL's "My Cause My Cleats" campaign during the game against the Atlanta Falcons Dec. 4. (Photo courtesy
Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry will wear cleats supporting awareness for Hodgkin’s lymphoma during the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign during the game against the Atlanta Falcons Dec. 4. (Photo courtesy

The “My Cause My Cleats” campaign allows players to bring awareness to charitable endeavors important to them. Each pair of cleats will be auctioned off on the NFL Auction website with all proceeds going to designated charities.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson will wear cleats supporting his Defend the Dream Foundation. One of the foundation’s primary programs is DJ’s Discovery Den, which turns unused classroom areas into a reading libraries. The foundation, through a partnership with Scholastic, provides more than 1,000 books to each Discovery Den. The foundation launched its 10th den this past week.

“That’s a big part of my passion and what I want to do as far as impacting the community through education,” Johnson said, “knowing that it’s very important and making the younger generation’s dreams come true through education.”

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin cleats celebrate his JMac Gives Back organization, which  supports educational programs for children in high-risk situations and provides support for single moms.

“It’s just something that I really feel strong about,” Maclin said. “This is something that I want to continue when I’m done playing. I always said, you’re not reaching your full potential as a person until you reach out to help others.”

Wide receiver Albert Wilson’s cleats represents the Albert Wilson Foundation. The third-year veteran created the organization to raise money and awareness for the challenges foster children face in pursuing educational opportunities once they exit the foster system.

Wilson and his sister spent time in the foster system, and he understands the challenges young people face in pursuing their dreams.

“You can definitely go to school out of state, but they deftly push you to go to school in state,” Wilson said. “I feel like a lot of opportunities comes out of state, like it did for myself.”

Wilson appreciates the NFL allowing the players to support their favorite causes while expressing individuality.

“Everybody has their own thing that they love,” Wilson said. “For the NFL to bring a whole bunch of guys from everywhere together and for us to share something like this is a great thing.”

Maclin agreed.

“The NFL is very strict when it comes to certain things,” Maclin said. “I think it means a lot to a lot of the guys.”

And Maclin says he loves the cleats.

“They’re dope,” Maclin said. “And I mean that in a good way.”

Ten Chiefs players will take part in the campaign benefiting the following organizations:

S Eric Berry – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Awareness

Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in November 2014, and now raises awareness of the disease to help others experiencing hard times.

P Dustin Colquitt & LS James Winchester – TeamSmile

TeamSmile partners oral health professionals with professional athletic organizations to provide life-changing dental care to underserved children in local communities.

WR Chris Conley – Enduring Hearts

Enduring Hearts funds research to increase the longevity of pediatric heart transplants and improve the quality of life for transplant recipients.

LB Derrick Johnson – Defend the Dream Foundation

Johnson’s Defend the Dream Foundation provides low-income and inner city youth with educational opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.  

TE Travis Kelce – 87 and Running

The foundation targets young people’s potential through education, business, arts, science and athletics to provide children resources and guidance to become caring and productive members of society.

WR Jeremy Maclin – JMac Gives Back

The organization provides opportunities through charitable and educational efforts to kids in alternative living situations and support for single mothers.

CB Marcus Peters – Fam 1st Family Foundation

The foundation is dedicated to uplifting and empowering youth in the Oakland and San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the United States by building self-esteem and academic learning skills in underprivileged youth.

QB Alex Smith – The Alex Smith Foundation

The foundation provides foster teens with the tools and resources needed to transition to successful adulthood by developing and promoting mentoring, education, housing, internship, job and advocacy programs.

WR Albert Wilson – The Albert Wilson Foundation

The foundation is committed to creating opportunities that will enhance the lives of youth in foster care break the cycle of abuse, neglect and abandonment among foster children.


Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.