Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has had a great season, defying the odds against him as the NFL’s oldest wide receiver and helping his team to arrive on solid ground with four games left in the year. Amid that success, Smith has been using his high profile to raise awareness for a cause that he’s very passionate about.
Smith, who is 37, has been sporting some pretty loud cleats on his feet that have carried a noble message. In October, he donned a pair that read “Break the Silence” and featured a ribbon for survivors of domestic violence. Last week, in his team’s roaring win over the Miami Dolphins, he wore another pair that again featured the ribbon on the left toe and had “END Domestic Violence” printed on the right toe.
— Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) December 3, 2016
Now, Smith is taking his advocacy a step further by autographing the second pair of shoes and donating them to House of Ruth Maryland to help the organization raise money. The group is currently holding a raffle for the cleats. Entrants can buy one ticket for $10 apiece or three tickets for $20. The fundraiser runs from now through Friday, Dec. 16, and the winner will be announced next week.
House of Ruth Maryland has been supporting victims of domestic violence for nearly four decades now. Cheri Parlaman, a spokeswoman for the organization, said Smith has been a reliable partner in their mission since coming to Baltimore in 2014. She describes him as “a longtime advocate for being a voice against domestic violence.”
His eponymous nonprofit, the Steve Smith Family Foundation, hosted a fashion show to raise money for House of Ruth this past October, and the wide receiver was also a special guest for the organization’s “Man Up!” event that same month, Parlaman said.
Smith has been an outspoken advocate around the NFL as well. He’s criticized former teammates and other players who were accused of abusing their partners in the past. In the most recent case, he took to social media to scold New York Giants kicker Josh Brown after police reportedly found evidence of him admitting to abusing his wife. After first writing on the sports social network Sqor that he would have put Brown on the injured reserve list had it been his daughter who Brown had abused, he had more to add. “A Man should NEVER Hit a woman which means he isn’t A REAL MAN,” he wrote in a second post.
Smith’s foundation, based in Charlotte, provides interventions to domestic violence victims, as well as health and wellness opportunities for disadvantaged children and aid for children in developing countries.
Parlaman said Smith has been a “role model” for other men who can join him in helping the group fight domestic violence. Even down to his choice of cleats, the wide receiver has shown that he’s proud to support their cause.
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