Patriots' Chris Mattes Supports 4 The Future Foundation on MNF


Chris Hogan introduced primetime NFL fans to lacrosse. Tonight, Chris Mattes intends to create a deeper awareness of the sport’s Native American origins.

A former All-American faceoff specialist at Rutgers who played lacrosse professionally for eight season, Mattes is the director of player operations and engagement for the New England Patriots, who meet the Buffalo Bills in a key AFC East clash on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN).

As part of the My Cause My Cleats campaign, Mattes will wear shoes designed by Lyle Thompson, his former Florida Launch teammate, in support of the Thompson brothers’ 4 The Future Foundation.

“The goal is to share the roots and values of lacrosse as well as embrace the Native American traditions with Native and underserved youth,” Mattes said on Instagram. “The foundation is committed to raising awareness, stopping violence and honoring all life.”







Thompson’s design features an orange handprint with feathers as fingers on the upper of the right shoe and the expression, “Every child matters,” a reference to the unmarked graves of Indigenous youth found in Canada this year and the call to awareness for the mass injustices carried out in residential schools across North America.

In lacrosse, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy has been at the forefront of the movement, specifically Thompson, who was featured on Sports Illustrated’s daily cover with the title, “Our Ghosts Aren’t Even Being Learned.” Haudenosaunee teams wore jerseys with orange accents and donned metallic orange helmets at the World Lacrosse Super Sixes event at USA Lacrosse in October — orange symbolizing the forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples, considered a form of cultural genocide.

Thompson designed the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 shoes “to remember and honor missing, and murdered Indigenous women and girls and Native children, who were stolen from their parents, put into residential schools and brought up in the most violent circumstances with the intent to erase their culture, language and connection to their people,” he said in a statement to Patriots.com. “The atrocities are staggering; the coverups continue today. The silence is deafening, and generational trauma and fear remain.”

Mattes said sharing a locker room with Thompson and his brothers, Jeremy and Miles, and meals with the Thompson family as they discussed what lacrosse meant to them as Onondaga Nation citizens resonated with him.

“Winning, losing wasn’t everything,” Mattes told Patriots.com. “It was about respecting the game, playing for the love of the game, playing for what they refer to as the Creator and embracing the sport. It was very impactful.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Chris Mattes (@cjmattes65)

The 4 The Future Foundation “inspires youth by encouraging the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle while promoting the attributes of the student-athlete and a call for generational leadership,” according to its mission statement. “Our focus is on creating programs for Indigenous and underserved communities where lacrosse meets culture, to create community-based opportunities that provide a pathway for the next generation to achieve their dreams.”

“This effort is about looking out for each other and looking out for each other’s kids,” foundation board member Betty Lyons said during a virtual USA Lacrosse Convention presentation earlier this year. “As Indigenous people, that’s something that we have always done. It’s about giving a glimmer of hope when someone most needs it.”

USA Lacrosse partnered with the 4 the Future Foundation, among other groups, to offer free streaming of the award-winning documentary, “Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation” in May and has provided four Starter Kit equipment grants — each of which included 30 lacrosse sticks — this year in support of its mission.

The Patriots have close ties to lacrosse. Head coach Bill Belichick’s profound love of the sport has been well documented. His sons, outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick (Rutgers) and safeties coach Brian Belichick (Trinity), played lacrosse in college, as did cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino (Johns Hopkins). Owner Robert Kraft is a Premier Lacrosse League investor.

Hogan, an undrafted wide receiver who won two Super Bowls with the Patriots, played lacrosse at Penn State for four years before moving on to football for a graduate year at Monmouth. He had a brief stint in the PLL this summer before rejoining the NFL and playing for the New Orleans Saints. He retired in October.

Mattes, who co-founded The Faceoff Academy, was a volunteer assistant coach at Maryland when the Terps won the 2017 NCAA championship before he was plucked by Belichick to work in football operations and player development.

On participating in My Cause My Cleats, he told Patriots.com, “It was the least I could do to give back to a sport that's given so much in my life.”

Steve Belichick also will support a cause near and dear to the lacrosse community. His kicks feature the One Love Foundation, which educates young people about relationship violence, with late Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love’s name on the heel collar.

Five NFL players — Randy Gregory (Dallas), Rayshawn Jenkins (Jacksonville), Tony Jones Jr. (New Orleans), Allen Lazard (Green Bay) and Joe Mixon (Cincinnati) — are wearing cleats to support the Headstrong Foundation. Founded in 2007 by the family of late Hofstra lacrosse player Nick Colleluori, the Headstrong Foundation improves the quality of life for those affected by cancer with financial, residential and emotional support and has also helped to fund blood cancer research.

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