Idris Elba and London-born Dallas Cowboys coach Aden Durde have teamed up for the NFL’s ‘My Cause My Cleats’ initiative, to spotlight Elba’s brand ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ (DSYF).
The not-for-profit clothing brand founded in 2018 in response to an increase in fatal stabbings in London, supports charities working to combat knife crime across the capital and aims to raise awareness by amplifying the message against knife crime and helping young people towards a better future.
2021 saw 30 young people losing their lives through knife crime, with the youngest victim being just 14 years old, the highest recorded number of teenage homicides in the capital since the Second World War.
Elba said: “‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ came from a rant I had on Instagram after a 15-year-old girl in London was stabbed to death and knife crime was rising, and I was trying to tell young people that the future is good for you. That it isn’t just the victim and the victim’s family whose lives are tragically impacted, but your own future that you are stabbing. And that became the brand language…I’m not here to sell clothes, I’m here to sell a message and use my voice and platform to try and get people to understand that we need to keep talking about youth-on-youth violence.”
The ‘My Cause My Cleats’ initiative launched in 2016 and sees NFL players join forces with artists and cleat manufacturers each year to create custom-designed cleats (or footwear) which they wear on the field, to highlight different non-profit organisations to viewers across the globe which they hope will fuel crucial conversations.
Elba said: “I went to an NFL game in London earlier this year and met The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. He was incredibly warm and receptive and completely focused on hearing about what I was doing with ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’. As The Commissioner of one of the world’s biggest sporting organisations he knows that the intersection between youth and sport and the NFL is a precious space and one that can bring about change, and how using their platform can help kids to understand there is an alternative to violence. He was keen for me to explore a collaboration with the My Cause My Cleats initiative. Within three weeks myself, Aden and the Big Kid Foundation were working together. The commitment from the NFL comes right from the top.
This year, the players have chosen to support causes including preventing gun violence, tackling social justice, prioritising mental health, raising awareness for individuals with disabilities and disability research, women’s health, and more.
The latest customised pair of Nike Air Force One’s, worn by Dallas Cowboys player Durde during Sunday night’s game against Indianapolis Colts, feature ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ across the Nike swoosh handwritten by Elba, with the Air Force One logo customised in the Union Jack colours and also a list of the 14 London postcodes that have been affected by knife crime in London.
Durde said: “I’ve got kids and you hear about people’s lives being ended and being ruined because of knife crime and it is heart breaking. Helping to fund and promote the work that community organisations and foundations do in the fight against knife crime is so important. Without those people in those communities, I wouldn’t be where I am today. We have to use our platform and voice to promote these people, as they are the real change”
Elba and Durde have signed two pairs of the customised trainers which will be auctioned by NFL Auction, with monies raised donated to Big Kid Foundation, an award-winning London charity which supports the families of victims of crime and works with local communities to support and assist young people who are struggling with the pressures of gangs, crime and deprivation, through sporting activities and mentoring programs.
Elba said: “At the heart of ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ is collaboration, and we want to partner with other like-minded organisations to inspire change. Sport is naturally an incubator for bringing likeminded people together. Why? Because sports appeals to the youth, whether you are watching it, or are part of a team, or you are playing it and you have a coach. It’s a natural incubator for learning, respect and personal growth. Everyone needs to be part of a family, a community, so they feel safe. Kids feel safe. And sport can help provide that. When kids start being fractioned off here and there, they see gangs as a way of being included in something.
Watch Idris Elba and Aden Durde discuss the initiative here.
For more information about the ‘My Cause My Cleats’ initiative click here.
For more information about the ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ initiative visit https://www.dsyf.com/dsyf
More information about the ‘Big Kid Foundation’ can be found https://www.bigkidfoundation.org/
For more news on Youth Crime Prevention, visit our blog.