On Monday March 22nd, Rams Tight End Tyler Higbee virtually surprised Special Olympics of Southern California (SOSC) athlete, Brett Laza, with a pair of his customized game-worn cleats.
Laza was the designer of the cleats which Higbee wore during the Rams' My Cause My Cleats game against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football in Week 14 of the 2020 NFL season.
My Cause My Cleats is an NFL campaign that launched 4 seasons ago and allows players to bring awareness to charitable causes on the field with cleats that represent non-profit organizations or programs that help make a difference in communities across the country.
"I have represented Special Olympics of Southern California three years now for My Cause My Cleats," said Higbee during the Zoom call with Laza and SOSC officials. "One of the reasons I love football so much is because it allows people to come together, work as a team, and put aside differences or problems to work towards one common goal. I was honored to have you create the cleats, and I want to thank you for that, Brett."
"Thank you, Tyler! This is so cool…I'm speechless," responded a surprised Laza.
Higbee's SOSC-themed cleats were posted on the Rams Official Auction site on February 17th. Over the last few weeks, various SOSC supporters and staff rallied together and combined financial contributions to submit the winning bid for the cleats so they could be gifted to the inspiring athlete who worked so hard to design them.
"It's great to see professional athletes and our professional SOSC athletes work together," said SOSC President and CEO, Calvin Lyons. "It's just exciting stuff and for the Rams and Tyler Higbee to recognize Brett's work and have him be rewarded with these [cleats] is amazing."
The proceeds from the winning bid will directly benefit the Special Olympics of Southern California, the world's largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. SOSC's programs allow people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted, valued, courageous and independent members of the community. Their impact extends beyond the playing fields and into the classrooms, the workplace and homes as their athletes have become more effective students, employees, and members of society.
For more information about the Rams community outreach efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.