NASHVILLE. Tenn. — A large number of Vanderbilt football student-athletes will show support for their cause of choice this season.
The Commodores have been permitted to place decals on the backs of their respective helmets to bring awareness to causes they feel are near and dear to them.
Vanderbilt is scheduled to open the 2020 season at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at No. 10 Texas A&M. Here is a glance at some – but not all – of the decals the Commodores will have on the back of their helmets when they take the field in College Station, Texas:
Black Lives Matter
Nearly 20 Commodores will show their support for Black Lives Matter.
Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 and has been at the epicenter of the fight against social injustice in 2020. Its mission is to eradicate white supremacy.
“Social injustice is something that’s at the forefront of all of our minds,” Vanderbilt linebacker Andre Mintze said. “It’s something that we don’t take lightly. Of course, while we play, that’s something that we want to implement here on the Vanderbilt football team is that we do not stand for social injustice – especially racism.
“Our coaches, our administration, our University has been very adamant about hearing our suggestions on how to show that.”
Turner’s Heroes and Dancing Dores
Two initiatives rooted on the Vanderbilt campus include Turner’s Heroes and Dancing Dores.
Turner’s Heroes was founded by former Vanderbilt student-athlete Cody Markel in tribute to former Vanderbilt student-athlete Turner Cockrell. The organization’s mission is to provide patients at children’s hospital a means of escape and enjoyment through superhero-themed event.
Turner died in 2018 from cancer.
Dancing Dores was created by Mintze as a way to get student-athletes more involved with Vanderbilt University’s Dance Marathon, an annual event raising funds and support for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. In February, Dancing Dores raised more than $40,000 in charitable funds.
Medals of Honor
The words Medals of Honor will give a nod to the Memories of Honor organization which aims to act as a living, breathing memorial so that no loss of military life goes forgotten.
Vanderbilt football has previously partnered with Memories of Honor for its annual Salute to Service game.
Operation Underground Railroad
Founded in 2013, Operation Underground Railroad works to end child slavery.
The organization works with law enforcement professionals to save children and seek justice for those who victimize them.
Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for VUCommodores.com. Follow him @MrChadBishop.