NFL, Panthers Star Christian McCaffrey, With Teammate Shaq Thompson, Announces Initiative to Bring CLT Community Together Through Sports for Underserved Youth

Christian McCaffrey, two-time All-Pro Carolina Panthers star running back, announced today that he is expanding his previous efforts to support frontline healthcare heroes in the Carolinas impacted by COVID-19. Today, he launched 22 Together: an initiative with teammate Shaq Thompson to unite the Charlotte community through sports programs for underserved youth.

McCaffrey and Thompson will work together to help unite the Charlotte community, using sports as the vehicle. 22 Together will help address the divides that exist and open the door for community among the public and law enforcement.

Starting with football, flag football, and cheerleading, and with the hope of expanding into other sports in the future, the players will work in collaboration with The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlotte, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Police Activities League (PAL) to open up the field of play for Charlotte youth. By funding these programs, historically underserved youth will be able to participate as soon as August and with the support and mentorship of coaches from Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD and other community leaders.

“After ‘22 and You’ raised hundreds of thousands for our healthcare heroes in a matter of days, I was in awe of this community and what it can achieve when we work together,” said Christian McCaffrey. “Right now, it is important to make an effort to help our community work through the divisions that exist, and I believe sport can accomplish that. Sports for me have always been a place for opportunity and for building a strong sense of team. It is a place where we can communicate values and begin building a more peaceful society. When we come together on a field of play, it helps unite us everywhere else. When we begin fundraising to support this effort July 22, I hope you’ll join Shaq and I in helping change happen.”

“When Christian called to ask if I would support this program with him, it was an easy decision,” added Shaq Thompson. “This is exactly what our community needs right now. Something positive, uniting members of our community and police. This unity creates a bond and focuses on kids, so no kid feels left behind and suffers.”

With support from 22 Together, The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s Police Activities League (PAL) and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlotte will begin the 22 Together program by offering football, flag football, and cheerleading programs, free of charge, to underserved youth in Charlotte. Business and community leaders are asked to reach out and volunteer their support as coaches and mentors.

“The Police Activities League of Charlotte is a program we’re all very proud of,” said Major Tonya Arrington of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “With the support of Christian, Shaq, and 22 Together, and partnering with the Boys and Girls Club, we can be united in our effort to reach more kids and, through them, have an even broader impact on our community, including for our officers who gain much from their experiences as mentors and coaches.”

“We are so grateful for the support of 22 Together and particularly at this critical time when COVID-19 has left an added strain on our budget and resources,” said Marty Clary, executive director of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte. “We know that when economic crises and other major events take place, the impact is felt most by our underserved populations. For that reason, we are grateful to Christian, Shaq and their program for recognizing the need to not only support our programs and the kids who participate in it, but reach all community members to work together for a more peaceful community.”

22 Together will work to help the Charlotte community build bridges through sport, providing support directly for sports programs of PAL and Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlotte. Fundraising efforts to support this program will begin on July 22nd. To learn more about the initiative, visit

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