This Monday night, during week 13 of the NFL season, the Women’s Sports Foundation will be one of the charities highlighted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the My Cause My Cleats campaign. The league-wide initiative offers teams the opportunity to wear their hearts on their cleats – allowing them to promote charitable causes that are important to them through creative and eye-catching cleat designs. More than 60 players and staff from the Buccaneers are participating in the annual campaign as they play the Saints on nationally televised Monday Night Football, December 5 at 8:15 p.m. Eastern.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of Title IX – the landmark law that helped pave the way for girls’ and women’s participation in sport. To commemorate the milestone and shine a spotlight on the WSF’s mission and impact, Offensive Tackle Donovan Smith, Inside Linebacker KJ Britt and Buccaneers Co-Owner, Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, are donning the Foundation – recognized as a champion and protector of Title IX – on their cleats and footwear.
The goal of the Women’s Sports Foundation is to build a future where every girl and woman can unlock their limitless possibilities through the power of sports. But to do that, Title IX must stay strong. The Foundation’s “50 Years of Title IX: We’re Not Done Yet” research report launched earlier this year shows that although girls’ participation in sports is nearly 12 times higher than it was at the time of the law’s passage in 1972, girls still have far fewer sports opportunities today, than boys had 50 years ago. Today, girls miss out on an estimated 1 million sports opportunities at the high school level compared to boys. This opportunity gap is widest among girls and women of color, LGBTQ+ youth and those with disabilities — all of whom consistently have fewer opportunities than their peers.
“Seeing members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers use their platform to celebrate and empower girls and women in sport is thrilling. In order to carry Title IX into the next 50 years, it is vital for everyone – especially younger generations – to understand their rights to equal access and opportunity, to be vigilant in ensuring those rights are upheld and to not take them for granted,” said WSF CEO Danette Leighton. “We are thankful for the Buccaneers’ and WSF Board of Trustees member Darcie Glazer Kassewitz and players KJ Britt and Donovan Smith for highlighting our essential work while inspiring the up-and-coming generation of girls and women to reach their full potential in sport and life.”
The cleats for Britt and Smith were created by Stadium Custom Kicks and feature the Foundation’s name and logo in their design; Smith’s also feature a nod to Title IX. Glazer Kassewitz’s flashy platform shoes were painted by Mache and also feature the Foundation’s name and logo, as well as its mantra – All girls. All women. All sports.® – and hashtag #KeepPlaying. Images can be found on the Buccaneers website, here.
“I am proud and excited to help shine additional light on the Women’s Sports Foundation’s continuing efforts to ensure equitable access to sports,” said Glazer Kassewitz. “While much progress has been made in the 50 years since the passing of Title IX, there is still much work to be done. Our organization is committed to using this opportunity through My Cause My Cleats to further WSF’s mission of encouraging and inspiring all girls and women to excel on and off the field of play.”
This is the seventh consecutive season that NFL players are raising awareness for non-profit organizations and causes meaningful to them on the field through the campaign. Each year, more than 1,000 players throughout the league participate. WSF has previously been highlighted by Eagles quarterback, Jalen Hurts (2021) and Washington Commanders coaching intern and WSF grant recipient, Jennifer King (2020).