Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, Washington, D.C. — Super Bowl champion, former National Football League (NFL) linebacker, current ESPN football analyst and author Mark Herzlich has joined International Justice Mission as Director of Team Freedom, Professional Athlete and Influencer Partners. IJM’s Team Freedom is a group of professional athletes and their families committed to IJM’s work. In his role, Herzlich will work to connect the global need to combat modern-day slavery and violence in all its forms, with the immense platform athletes have to raise awareness and lead the fight against slavery and violence.
During his NFL career, Herzlich spent seven seasons with the New York Giants – including winning Super Bowl XLVI – as well as being nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award which recognizes excellence on and off the field, and served as Vice President for the NFL Players Association, the player-elected leadership board that represents all 2,400+ active NFL players.
Now, in addition to joining the IJM leadership team, Herzlich sits on the board of The Joyful Heart Foundation and A Call to Men, both of which work to end domestic violence and violence against women in the U.S. as well as the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund which help families tackle childhood cancer. Herzlich, a cancer survivor himself, also hosts a parenting podcast called, "The Superhero Dads Podcast," which inspires men to put their capes on when they walk in their front door, not just when they walk out.
“Professional athletes have catalyzed a movement for justice with Team Freedom, and it is exciting to see these players leading and growing it,” said Jaclynn Willert, Team Freedom Founder and Director. “As we continue to grow and leverage the sphere of influence of our Team Freedom Champions, Mark’s tremendous leadership will allow us to serve those most in need around the world.”
“It’s an honor and privilege to join IJM in our collective fight for justice,” said Mark Herzlich, Director of Team Freedom, Professional Athlete and Influencer Partners. “I look forward to working with our current and future professional athlete partners to spread awareness and use our collective resources to protect people in poverty from violence and end modern slavery in our lifetime.”
The Team Freedom Core leadership team includes Zach (NFL) and Julie Ertz (USWNT), Benjamin and Kirsten Watson (NFL), Matt and Sarah Hasselbeck (NFL), Trey and Yesenia Burton (NFL), Hunter and Parker Henry (NFL), Jordan and Ivana Hicks (NFL), Mark and Danielle Herzlich (NFL/IJM Team Freedom Director), Nick and Amy Hundley (MLB/IJM Team Freedom Director), Clayton and Ellen Kershaw (MLB), Albert and Deidre Pujols (MLB), Adam and Jenn LaRoche (MLB).
About IJM’s Team Freedom Program:
Team Freedom is IJM’s team of over 100 pro athlete families across multiple major sports, including the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), U.S. Soccer and U.S. Olympics. Team Freedom players are committed to using the global power and influence of sports in IJM’s work to protect people in poverty from human trafficking, slavery and other forms of violence. Since Team Freedom’s launch over 5 years ago, players have advocated for survivors, traveled internationally to meet with IJM front-line teams and global leaders, and brought the work of IJM in front of tens of millions of people. They have also raised over $13 million since Team Freedom’s inception to support IJM’s frontline work.
Learn more about Team Freedom at: IJM.org/team-freedom
About International Justice Mission:
International Justice Mission is a global organization that protects people in poverty from violence. IJM partners with local authorities in 24 program offices in 14 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and other forms of abuse against people who are poor. IJM works to rescue and restore victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and help strengthen public justice systems. Learn more at: IJM.org.
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