Rodgers Chooses Unique Cause
by Mike Conklin
October 11, 2013
During Thursday night's game, Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall brought awareness to a good cause en route to a multiple-touchdown night.
Marshall wore lime green shoes in support of Mental Health Awareness Week, and will be fined thousands of dollars as a result since it goes against the strict uniform guidelines the NFL maintains. Marshall vowed to pay the fine, and to donate an equal amount to support the cause.
For a while earlier this week there were rumblings that the NFL would not even permit Marshall on the field if he wore the green shoes, but in the end the league allowed it. The end result was that hundreds of thousands of people are now aware that such a thing as Mental Health Awareness Week even exists. Marshall has been able to share his own personal story about being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. He is to be commended for speaking out on the issue.
The league as a whole has visibly thrown its support behind the American Cancer Society's quest to raise awareness about breast cancer. The color pink is ubiquitous in every NFL stadium during the month of October.
Breast cancer is undoubtedly a worthy cause, and mental health victimizes millions of families and is greatly misunderstood and overlooked. It is good to see the spotlight shine on those very important issues.
Earlier this week, Aaron Rodgers chose to throw the considerable weight of his celebrity behind another very different cause. Unlike those mentioned above, his cause of choice is likely something most people in Wisconsin had never even heard of before he took a public stance on this issue.
Rodgers joined a friend of his, actress Emmanuelle Chriqui, for a campus event earlier this week at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Chriqui has been working for the past few years to bring awareness to atrocities taking place in the African country of Congo. Most Americans literally have no idea about what is happening there.
Apparently, there is a very good chance that the electronic device you are using to read this article right now may have minerals used in its production that may have an indirect connection to genocide on the other side of the world. Consider this video produced by the group Rodgers is endorsing:
Rodgers is very deliberate when deciding which companies, charities, and causes he chooses to endorse. This issue is not the type of thing that the average NFL megastar talks about.
Having said that, did you have any idea that 45,000 innocent civilians are killed every month in Congo? Have you ever even heard of this issue? Did you have any clue that your mobile phone may be carrying some of those conflict minerals that are causing the death of thousands?
And if Aaron Rodgers hadn't shown up in Madison earlier this week, would you still be in the dark about this issue?
Athletes and celebrities talk all the time about how they want to raise awareness for charities.
By supporting this cause, Aaron Rodgers isn't just raising awareness. He's creating awareness.
"I’ve been given a platform based on the success that we’ve had as a team and that I've had individually," Rodgers told Travis Waldron from ThinkProgress. "What am I going to do? I have a voice, I have an opportunity to tell people what I care about. And I care about this deeply. I care about making an impact in this world."
Already boasting the best quarterback rating and lowest interception percentage in NFL history, Aaron Rodgers is a football player that stands out among his peers.
Using his stature to take a stance and shed light on an issue like this that affects millions of people on the other side of the world is making him stand out in a much different and ultimately more important way.
It is great to see Aaron Rodgers throw touchdowns on Sunday. But it is more heartwarming to see the face of the Packers franchise do what he can to effect real change in the world.
If he hadn't already gained such a status, the pride of Chico, California may now be on his way to becoming the pride of Wisconsin.
A couple thousand students in Madison who are now rallying behind a new cause certainly think so.
Photo Credit: Jill Peters / Badger Herald