NFL Players Association and the Social Justice Center at FIT Unveil Student's Winning T-Shirt Design
The shirt will be distributed to all NFL players and available for sale to the public in August
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Football and fashion have come together in a powerful way to inspire positive change. In recognition of Juneteenth, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and its marketing and licensing arm, NFL Players Inc., unveiled the winning T-shirt Monday for its student design contest in partnership with the Social Justice Center at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
The winning look, created by FIT student Siara Mencia (Textile/Surface Design, ’24), serves as a call to action to raise awareness for the issue of health inequity, which disproportionately impacts people of color in the United States. Emblazoned on the front and back of the black T-shirt is the phrase “Care For Health” within the brand colors and logo of the NFLPA, respectively. The design stands out as a thoughtful conversation piece and sobering reminder of the injustices faced by so many.
“I wanted to incorporate the resilience and perseverance that athletes demonstrate on the field,” Mencia said of her winning design, “because they work as a unified force, like many groups who fight for equality. It’s going to take a collective effort to tackle the pervasive issues that result from healthcare inequity across underserved communities."
In July, T-shirts will be distributed to NFLPA player members across all 32 NFL teams to wear during the 2023 summer training camp. Beginning in August, the shirts will available for sale through the “No Excuses” shop created by Cincinnati Bengals defender and NFLPA Executive Committee member Michael Thomas.
“As players in a sport mostly made up of men of color, I believe it’s important that we use our platform to help improve our communities by bringing attention to injustices in a way that will spark positive change,” Thomas said. “I’ve seen firsthand the power of our collective voice, and my hope is that this T-shirt initiative with the Social Justice Center at FIT will be the latest example as we fight for health equity.”
To demonstrate their united commitment to equity, the NFLPA donated $10,000 to the Social Justice Center (SJC) at FIT. The funds will go towards removing obstacles and creating opportunities for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students and working professionals. A first-of-its-kind initiative in higher education, the SJC was established to invest in sustained and meaningful change in order to ensure the success of BIPOC students and professionals, and make the fashion and creative industries more equitable.
The Spring 2023 NFLPA Social Justice T-Shirt Student Design Contest Presented by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) launched during February’s Black History Month. FIT students were given the opportunity to develop an original T-shirt design surrounding the social justice issue of healthcare access and equity. A panel of judges representing NFL Players Inc. and the union’s player membership evaluated the submissions before selecting three designs by students, who each received cash prizes from the NFLPA. As the first-place winner, Mencia also earned the opportunity to have her original design produced as a T-shirt for sale, in addition to distribution to the entire NFLPA player membership.
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through the 2030 NFL season. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.
A part of the State University of New York (SUNY), FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing almost 9,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today’s rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Norma Kamali, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Stephen Burrows, Dennis Basso, Daniel Roseberry, Francisco Costa, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of bareMinerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor-in-chief of ELLE. fitnyc.edu