INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Even before kickoff, the Indianapolis Colts are taking a strong stance and it starts with their warm-up shirts.
The Colts have launched a new campaign called "Breaking Barriers." The initiative is aimed at breaking down long-standing barriers and creating justice for all.
“These shirts for me, and for our team, is a show of solidarity. This is something that everyone needs to see,” says kicker, Adam Vinatieri.
From social justice and race issues to police brutality, the Colts organization is encouraging fans to start talking about these tough topics to make changes.
“It’s obviously everywhere. It’s something we’ve been getting better at as a country, but there’s plenty more steps to be taken,” said defensive end Jabaal Sheard.
The #BreakingBarriers t-shirts were unveiled during warm-ups of the preseason game against the Ravens. The efforts are being made to end discrimination and provide economic and educational opportunities.
“I’ve seen some of my teammates sit in a room and pour their hearts out about how they want equality and how things in our society need to change. It’s a tough situation,” said Vinatieri.
During training camp, the team brought kids and police officers together to interact. Players also recently visited teens who have gone down the wrong path.
“We went to the juvenile detention center, just to reach out to those kids and preach positivity and show them that people care,” said Sheard.
On the back of the shirts, the message is just as important: "It takes all of us."
“I feel like I’m a very small part of a potential small movement, that I’m one little tiny stone that put together makes a mountain,” said Vinatieri.
The effort will include three components:
- Fostering community dialogue – This season, Colts players, coaches, and staff will continue to host and take part in events that bring that bring diverse groups of people together to have positive and productive conversations about important community issues.
- Inspiring community members – Throughout the year, the Colts will continue to host and take part in activities that inspire Hoosiers to work toward the important goals of the effort. Last year, several players joined students from IPS and local police officers at the Peace Learning Center, the city’s award-winning organization that educates, inspires and empowers people to live peacefully.
- Funding community initiatives – The Colts have created a new Social Justice Club Fund, which will support local nonprofits working in these important areas. The Colts organization will match contributions from current and former players up to $250,000. Colts players and staff will collaboratively determine the process, timeline, and guidelines for the fund.
The Colts also will grant awards from the Players’ Action Fund, which Colts players created last season to support nonprofits working to break down barriers.
The Irsay family kicked off the fund last year with a $100,000 donation. For more information on #BreakingBarriers, visit Colts.com/AllofUs.