The Los Angeles Rams and the North East Lincoln Tigers, a youth football program coached by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers serving youth in the Ramona Gardens public housing development in Boyle Heights, are launching a partnership that includes renaming the youth team the North East Lincoln Tigers. During the Rams-Broncos Inspire Change matchup, North East Lincoln Rams youth players and coaches were invited on the field during the second quarter for the special announcement and received the first North East Lincoln Rams jerseys.
As part of the partnership, the Rams will fund all football components of the North East Lincoln Rams program, including uniforms and equipment. Throughout the year, the Rams will provide engagement opportunities with current players, alumni, coaches, scouts, football operations and front office staff, as well as develop joint programs that focus on character development and community service to expand their knowledge and ignite their passions beyond the playing field. The Rams also will provide incentive-based rewards to reinforce the importance of education through tickets to Rams games, autographed items, merchandise and outings.
"We are so proud and grateful to work in partnership with the LA Rams," said Deputy Chief Emada Tingirides, Commanding Officer of the LAPD, Community Safety Partnership Bureau. "Their efforts invariably support the LAPD's quest to cultivate trust between police officers and the community members they are sworn to serve through purposeful programming designed to generate increased understanding, foster deeper human connections and eliminate barriers to effective communication. I honor the LA Rams for their acts of kindness throughout the City that have moved the needle of progress in such areas as social justice and equitable access to resources. The expansion of the LA Rams' footprint, to now include the Lincoln Rams youth sports, supports togetherness and eliminates divisiveness—which reflects my belief that we are safer, more resilient and better equipped to navigate life's challenges and 'Inspire Change' when we work in unity, with humility and in support of humanity."
The North East Lincoln Rams will continue to play their home games at Kenny Washington Stadium at Abraham Lincoln High School, the alma mater of former LAPD officer and iconic Rams Legend Kenny Washington, who broke the color barrier in professional sports. The North East Lincoln Rams have four football teams: 8U, 10U, 12U and 14U, as well as a cheerleading program.
The North East Lincoln Rams program will be modeled after the Rams efforts with the Watts Rams youth football program. Entering the 2019 season, the Rams formalized their support of the Watts Rams (formerly known as the Watts Bears) and the LAPD's efforts to bridge community and police relations through the game of football. The partnership was announced at the Rams Training Camp by Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and LAPD officer and former Watts Rams head coach Zarren Thompson.
"Building on the success of the Watts Rams, we are excited to expand our impact to East Los Angeles by adopting the former North East Lincoln Tigers," said Molly Higgins, executive vice president of community impact and engagement, Los Angeles Rams. "We know the Watts Rams model works by using the game of football to help bridge the divide between law enforcement and communities of color and create meaningful relationships between the two. We look forward to wrapping our organizational arms around the Lincoln Rams and helping to inspire more positive change. Like the Watts Rams, the Lincoln Rams will be more than just a youth football program. It will be a program grounded in youth development and focused on creating better humans not just football players."
Earlier this month, the Rams hosted an inaugural Inspire Change Bowl at Abraham Lincoln High School for the Watts Rams and North East Lincoln Rams (formerly known as the North East Lincoln Tigers) youth football and cheerleading programs to celebrate their seasons.