The Armenian-themed shoes (photo: Eric Adler/New England Patriots)

New England Patriots Staffer Najarian’s Cleats Set New NFL Auction Record, Garner Attention for Armenia

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BOSTON – As the Mirror previously reported, the National Football League (NFL) every year conducts a My Cause My Cleats campaign, in which custom sneakers or cleats can be worn on the field before final auction for philanthropic purposes. Berj Najarian, director of football/head coach administration of the New England Patriots, had a pair of Armenian-themed shoes which had the statement “Peace for Armenians” written on them. They were shown off on the field by quarterback Cam Newton, while a number of players made supportive video statements, the latest of whom was Super Bowl MVP and three-time champion Julian Edelman. This auction was an effort to call attention to the plight of Armenians in the recent Artsakh War, as well as to raise some aid for them through the Armenia Fund.

 

 

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A post shared by Berj Najarian (@berj.najarian)

 

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Najarian’s bold step led to coverage in major American media, including various television stations, the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. The auction on his sneakers ended on January 6 with 141 bids and a closing price of $40,300.00. This auction price had surpassed not only that of all others in the NFL campaign so far, but all prior My Cause My Cleats auctions in the past. The prior record went to Tom Brady, whose shoes were sold for $31,025 in 2017. The winning bid for Najarian’s footwear came from two Armenians who wish to remain anonymous at present. There were many non-Armenians who also participated in the auction.

Berj Najarian (courtesy of his Instagram site)

When asked about its extraordinary success, Najarian said, “I think it shows the connection that Armenians have for one another and how strongly Americans in general feel about helping people who are really struggling now. There were many people who were bidding, which is indicative about how people feel. It shows that everyone is trying to do their part on whatever level they can, whether they can give 10 or 40,000 dollars, show up at a demonstration, or have conversations with people about Armenia. People are dropping a lot of other things they are doing and focusing on doing whatever is possible. This is only one illustration.”

Patriots winter clothing donated to Armenia (courtesy Berj Najarian)

Najarian has not just limited himself to his cleats’ auction campaign. In December, he assembled over 300 pieces of Patriots winter clothing, he said, which was donated by various staff at the Patriots, including coaches, as well as the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, to be sent to Armenia. The clothing was sent to New York to the Children of Armenia Fund, which in turn is shipping the clothing to Armenia to help the needy during this post-war winter period.

“When you see the photos of people, including young men who lost limbs, many of whom were not originally soldiers but decided for the love of their country and parents and grandparents to serve, as well as others who did not make it, and all those whose lives were changed drastically by this war, you know that if you have the opportunity to do anything to support them or their families, that takes priority over anything else. It is winter, it is cold in Armenia, and living conditions are not good for many people,” Najarian exclaimed.

He has helped various other philanthropic Armenian campaigns recently which have reached out to him for assistance, including Hoops4Hayastan and PeaceforArmenians and did a number of interviews on Instagram and other media platforms. His personal Instagram site has served as a popular means of presenting information on Armenian topics.

 

 

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A post shared by Berj Najarian (@berj.najarian)

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