By Vince Agnew, Player Engagement Insider
The Chargers seventh-year safety and leading special teamer, Darrell Stuckey, will be wearing cleats to represent the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign this week. His baby blue cleats are fashioned by Nike and will display the FCA’s original cross, logo and bible verse of the year.
This may not come as a surprise to many as Stuckey is well known as a devout Christian and man of character—his hard working service on the field is just as inspiring as it is off.
He has been selected as a Chargers captain for five consecutive years and was also a nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2015. But to understand the story behind his cleat design, you must first understand the story behind the man.
As his father dealt with a troubled past, Stuckey’s single mother did all that she could to raise a young man. On top of this, he went through three medical procedures and was not cleared to have any physical activity by doctors until the age of ten. However, this was minor compared to what the next decade of life would present him with.
His mother went on to marry a marine stationed in San Diego and even adopted three of his nieces and nephews bringing their total number of children to seven in the home. After a few years, it came to light that the stepfather had presented himself sexually to one of the minor children.
The irony of this revelation is that it took place right after Stuckey attended his first FCA camp and took control over his life in terms of faith—events that unknowingly prepared him to become the man of the house and his mother’s confidant at the age of seventeen.
He recalled having to leave football practice thirty minutes early so that he could go work until 11:30 in the evening just to help his mother afford rent.
“FCA taught us how to create a support system around you. How to create a positive environment to propel you and to motivate you, keep you inspired, keep you on track. FCA acts as an arm extended to help, encourage and build up the youth teaching them how to overcome and keep getting back up.”
He and his wife Lucie started an organization titled Living4One with a mission to help people discover that they were created to influence the world in a positive way. They have been partnering with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to host a free camp in San Diego for the last four years.
Stuckey feels the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign is valuable because it allows him to express his vision of bringing people together in unity and fostering hope.
“This is important because the NFL is creating a personal relationship and inviting fans to truly see what the players believe in, what they stand for, what they are passionate about and see their work,” he said.
“It works to gain a demographic that maybe typically wouldn’t be interested in the NFL. Now they are interested, now they are interested in the people. Those are the fans that won’t waiver, because they believe in the person and not just a team or wins and losses.”
“I picked the Fellowship of Christian Athletes because of what they stand for. They use sports to propel the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and as a foundation to build a positive environment through sports. It helps kids to achieve their goals and set the groundwork for them to be better people, not just better athletes.”
Stuckey also has kids of his own that he lives and plays to inspire. After he married his wife in 2011, they had two children. Their oldest is four-year-old son, Jayton, and their daughter, Kinsley, will be two years old in January. They are also due for their third child, a daughter, in February.
“For me I believe that we can all live as one on and off the field and if we truly want to do that we have to take consideration of each other,” he said. “We have to be able to stand together as one, with one goal in mind.”
We are given the gift of choice and that choice is going to influence ourselves and everyone around us depending on what we do with it. Stuckey hopes that with his personal work and through the My Cause My Cleats campaign, he can inspire people to live intentionally, thinking about the impact of every decision, not just on themselves but also on others.
“We can all be better. We all can make a way to come together,” he said.
For more information about Darrell and his initiatives with the FCA please visit: http://www.darrellstuckey.com