LSU grad turned Cleveland Brown to support local non-profit with special cleats Sunday

BATON ROUGE — Each NFL season in weeks 13 and 14, the league runs an initiative called “My Cause, My Cleats” that allows the players to wear customized cleats to support a cause near and dear to them.

When former LSU football player and current Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Ethan Pocic takes the field for his team’s 3:25 p.m. game against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 3, his cleats will sport ties to Baton Rouge.

Pocic chose to honor IRIS Domestic Violence Center, which has a special place in Pocic’s heart. The non-profit’s mission is to empower survivors, prevent relationship violence, and promote justice for victims of domestic and dating violence, their children, and their communities.


“He’s supported our cause regularly,” said Iris Executive Director Patti Freeman. “He’s our single largest donor. He could have selected any number of causes, but he chose us.”

“He’s already a hero to us,” she continued. “He funded an entire wing’s repairs to facilitate transitional housing at our shelter. He was here putting furniture together to help get it ready, as well as his wife and entire family. We already see him as a hero to our cause because he consistently and regularly supports us financially and obviously with things like this.”

Pocic said visiting the shelter and seeing the hard work done at IRIS was one of the reasons he chose to support the organization.

“I chose IRIS Domestic Violence Center for a few reasons,” he said. “I feel like God wants me and my wife to bring awareness towards domestic violence and help. My wife’s grandmother, Mama Syl, had a big impact at the IRIS Center in Baton Rouge and really inspired my wife, who has inspired me.”

“It’s great to support and honor these causes,” he added. “I feel like it’s the least we can do as athletes to help out the community as much as possible.”

Freeman said Pocic would auction off the cleats after Sunday’s game, and those proceeds would go towards IRIS to develop a children’s wrap-around service program on a dedicated wing at the facility. It will benefit the children who are in the domestic violence shelter with their parents.

“He’s just one of the most humble and kind people I’ve ever met,” she said. “He just truly does care about IRIS, the victims, and especially the children there. They’re constantly reaching out to see if anything is needed for them. He just truly is a hero to Baton Rouge and domestic violence.”

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