Ten National Football League (NFL) players will vividly showcase their passion for the farmer-created Fuel Up to Play 60 program during games played on Dec. 8, according to the Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff. DMI also manages National Dairy Council and the American Dairy Assn. and founded the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.
The NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign gives players the opportunity to publicly highlight the causes that are most important to them through personalized designs and messages on their cleats. Ten players, including eight who serve as Fuel Up to Play 60 ambassadors, have chosen to feature their commitment to the program. Fuel Up to Play 60 was created 10 years ago by the dairy checkoff and the NFL to improve health and wellness in schools across the country.
“It’s great to see these players put their passion for Fuel Up to Play 60 and children’s health and wellness priorities on full display,” said Pennsylvania dairy farmer Marilyn Hershey, who serves as chair of DMI. “NFL players and dairy farmers are very united in this cause, and our 10-year partnership has delivered healthy change in kids’ lives across the country.”
All 32 NFL teams are involved with Fuel Up to Play 60. Since the program’s inception, more than 2,000 player visits have taken place at schools involved in the program.
“There is nothing more important to our country than dairy farmers; … they contribute so much, and we are proud to partner with them,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in September.
Players will display Fuel Up to Play 60 messaging and logos or Holstein-patterned prints on their cleats. They will share images of their cleats and information about their cause on their social media channels ahead of the games using the hashtag #mycausemycleats.
The players and their respective Twitter and Instagram handles are:
- Justin Pugh, Arizona Cardinals (@JustinPugh/@justinpugh67).
- Nate Ebner, New England Patriots (@nateebner/@ebs43).
- Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos (@jsimms1119/@jsimms1119).
- Morgan Moses, Washington Redskins (Instagram, @morganmoses_76).
- Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers (@MattBreida/@mbreida22).
- DJ Reader, Houston Texans (@djread98/@djread).
- Harrison Phillips, Buffalo Bills (@horribleharry99/@harrisonphillips99).
- Jerome Baker, Miami Dolphins (@lastname_baker/@lastname_baker).
- Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs (@mitchschwartz71/@mitchschwartz71).
- Dontrell Hilliard, Cleveland Browns (@D_Hilliard26/@d_hilliard26).
The checkoff also will share information on its Twitter and Instagram properties via @FUTP60.
The NFL is producing television spots that will air during game broadcasts and highlight different players’ causes. Breida with the 49ers, for example, will feature a message on the importance of youth health and wellness. The spots also will be shared across the NFL’s social media channels.
Players will have the opportunity to raise money for their cause by auctioning off their cleats at https://nflauction.nfl.com. One-hundred percent of money raised will be donated to the player’s charities.
Since its creation, Fuel Up to Play 60 has awarded more than $48 million in grants that have improved school wellness. Many of these efforts have moved more dairy. Schools used grants to implement programs that improved breakfast participation, including providing access to smoothies, coffee and hot chocolate, plus grab-and-go opportunities that allow students to eat in the classroom. Since 2010, efforts such as these have led to the use of an additional 1.2 billion lb. of milk at schools.