LUDLOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Those of you watching the New England Patriots over the last few weeks of the 2020 season may have noticed players in custom cleats designed by an artist right here in western Mass.
The NFL's annual My Cause, My Cleats initiative allows players across the league to request a custom-designed shoe to highlight an organization or issue they're passionate about.
Ludlow artist Joe Ventura designed all 17 of the flashy, personalized cleats many of you may have seen during their games, but for the first time ever, one of his cleats that he designed raised $40,300, setting an NFL record for the initiative.
Spending hours making 17 pairs of cleats for members of the New England Patriots, Ventura was able to paint the picture of their ideas and turn them into something beyond their imagination, right on their cleats.
Believe it or not, the record-setting cleats were not even for a player. Patriots director of Football and Head Coach Administration Berj Najarian wanted his cleats to draw awareness to the deadly and unrelenting drone attacks on the Armenian people.
Ventura, who is Armenian-American, was adamant about turning his cleats into a statement that would speak volumes. Although it took Ventura three rough-drafts to create exactly what Najarian wanted, he said it was well worth it.
"He just loved the work I did, from what he tells me, that the work that I did, he knew that it was the right person to express what he was trying to express,” Ventura said. “It was something that was dear to him to help those people."
The cleats auction closed at $40,300, breaking the NFL record for the initiative.
Ventura humbly said making a bunch of these cleats for the team is a no brainer. He said talking to each player and member of the Patriots reminds him that these members are beyond football stars and truly care about making a difference in society.
Ventura also said he also found out the news of the record-breaking auction the same day as the Washington D.C. protests. He said it reminded him that there is good in the world and was thankful he could be a part of it.