Since the 2016 season, players around the NFL have been bringing attention to causes that are important to them by showcasing various organizations on their cleats as part of the “My Cause My Cleats” initiative.
On Sunday in the latest iteration, Atlanta Falcons punter Bradley Pinion chose to represent Compassion International on his cleats. Compassion is a child sponsorship and Christian humanitarian aid organization whose mission is to “release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”
Thank you @bpinion05 and Kaeleigh Pinion for the incredible love and support that you are providing to children in Tanzania!
Read more about how this couple is changing the lives of children and families in poverty: https://t.co/dplErSg4Kh
— Compassion International (@compassion) December 6, 2022
The Falcons (5-8) lost at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 19-16, but Pinion was glad to be able to shed more light on Compassion and the work it does around the globe. Bradley and his wife, Kaeleigh, first heard about that work at a Pro Athletes Outreach conference during the offseason. They were immediately drawn in.
“We were pretty interested in partnering with them from the beginning,” Kaeleigh told AtlantaFalcons.com. “We knew we wanted to make a pretty big impact.”
Bradley added that Compassion’s Christian foundation was vital in the partnership: “We fell in love with their mission and their purpose of spreading the Gospel across the world.”
What resulted from that partnership has been the Pinions helping set up two child development centers in Tanzania, according to AtlantaFalcons.com, as well as a survival program for pregnant mothers. The centers offer healthcare, hygiene training, educational assistance, mentorship, recreational activities and faith-based teaching for the kids. One of the centers already has 147 students enrolled.
“[Compassion] sent us over some reports to look at, areas that needed serving, the population there, the amount of children there who were malnourished or needed support,” Kaeleigh said, “and Bradley and I just felt a pull.”
In March, when Bradley isn’t busy booming punts high above NFL fields across the U.S., the Pinions will have the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to see the centers and visit with the kids there.
“We’ve been telling all of our friends about this specific center in Tanzania and trying to get as many kids sponsored as possible,” Kaeleigh said, “because we just want to have the problem where the center is too full and we need to help raise money to get another one on the ground.”
The couple has long been eager to give back. Whether they’re in Atlanta, San Francisco (Bradley’s first NFL stop) or Tampa Bay (his second), they’ve been heavily involved in outreach to their local community.
Bradley also isn’t shy about displaying his faith in Christ on the field or on Twitter or Instagram. He also joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2019 to tell about his faith and an incredible story of what he describes as an encounter with an angel that led him to Clemson for college.
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During the strange year that was 2020, Pinion credited God with bringing him peace during an otherwise stressful time.
“Whether something would go bad or something would go good, it’s been very constant, just very peaceful,” Pinion told Sports Spectrum in January 2021. “With all the outside distractions, and there’s been a lot of them this year, just having that faith to fall back on is huge. Because if you don’t have that faith — and things can go haywire because you kind of lose yourself, you lose your self-awareness — you can be out of touch with God.
“It’s one of those things where as long as you stay in touch with God, He’s going to take care of the rest. And that’s really just what I focused on, spending that extra time in the Bible every single day.”
Whether Pinion is busy making a difference in Atlanta on the football field or in Tanzania with Compassion, the 28-year-old knows he can rest secure knowing his Father is reigning in Heaven.
Pinion and the Falcons are on a bye this week. They will head to New Orleans to take on the Saints (4-9) on Dec. 18. The game is set for 1 p.m. ET.
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– Bradley Pinion’s story of the ‘angel’ who influenced him to go to Clemson
– SS PODCAST: Bradley Pinion – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Punter
– Brock Purdy becomes 49ers QB: ‘I believe in the Lord & I trust in Him’
– SS PODCAST: Eric Mac Lain on fatherhood, using platform to love like Jesus