NFL player honors Israel on his cleats after 'life-changing' trip

One player in the National Football League was so moved by a trip to Israel in March, that he dedicated his cleats to Israel and the group that brought him there.

Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce chose “Israel Collective” to be featured on his blue-and-white cleats for the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign.

“Israel Collective has been a life-changing thing for me,” Pierce said. “Having the Israel flag in front and center was paramount for me. I needed that to be right where it is.”

Josh Ahrens, the director of Israel Collective, told Fox News Pierce’s support comes at a pivotal time.

“In the wake of the recent shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and rising anti-Semitism in general, Michael’s support for Israel and the Jewish people have been a source of healing and encouragement for them," Ahrens said. "I’m getting calls from friends in Israel asking me to tell Michael how much it means to them to see an openly Christian public figure express his love and support for them in these difficult times. This is a much-needed example of courage and love in action."

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Pierce was surprised by the “oneness and connectedness” when he visited the Holy Land, especially after “growing up reading the Bible, to learn exactly where Jesus walked was awesome.”

The NFL group of 35 visited the Western Wall, many were baptized in the Jordan River, and they played football with children with disabilities at the Shalva National Children’s Center in Jerusalem.

A group from the NFL was baptized in the Jordan River on a trip with Israel Collective in March.

A group from the NFL was baptized in the Jordan River on a trip with Israel Collective in March. (Israel Collective)

“I just enjoyed their company and learned so many different customs and things that they do that I’ve just never been aware of – how warm people are, is definitely something I hope people will read about and maybe, then, go over, if they’re able of course, to be able to see exactly what’s going on,” Pierce said.

Israel Collective is an initiative of Christians United for Israel that sends groups of young American Christians to Israel to connect with the people of the Holy Land.

“Michael’s choice to highlight the Israel Collective and its mission to show love and support to Israel and the people of the Middle East is a wonderful example of the healing and unity that can come from those who’ve seen the beauty of Israel and share it with others,” Ahrens said.