Preseason game honored Special Olympics Wisconsin for its 50-year history in creating inclusive communities across Wisconsin.
The Green Bay Packers recognized Special Olympics Wisconsin as the nonprofit honoree for the Packers Give Back Game on Friday, Aug. 19.
The preseason matchup between Green Bay and New Orleans marked the second annual Packers Give Back Game, which supports a benefiting charity from Wisconsin by highlighting their work and amplifying their message before and during the game.
Hundreds of Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes and their loved ones received a free bus ride to the game, as well as food and beverage gift cards, as they cheered on the team in a designated Special Olympics Wisconsin area in the north end zone. Prior to kickoff, several Special Olympics athletes took the field to recite the Athlete Oath, along with the carrying of the Special Olympics torch. Fans throughout the stadium were invited to take part in the Athlete Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
At halftime, the Special Olympics Unified Flag Football Teams representing the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Neenah High School, and Washington High School in Milwaukee played a flag football game on Lambeau Field.
“We’re pleased to have Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes and volunteers join us for the Packers Give Back Game,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “Regardless of an athlete’s ability, being involved in sports and being included as part of a team can be life changing for countless individuals. We’re proud to honor Special Olympics of Wisconsin for their work in bringing visibility to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion on and off the playing field in Wisconsin.”
The Packers recently joined Special Olympics Wisconsin in collaboration with the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Admirals for the OUR TEAM initiative to celebrate inclusion across sport. The initiative is designed to showcase the programming Special Olympics Wisconsin currently makes available to statewide athletes with intellectual disabilities and, through awareness and fundraising efforts associated with the new initiative, celebrate athletes of all abilities in all sports in communities across Wisconsin. OUR TEAM is in coordination with the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics Wisconsin, and with the community’s support, Special Olympics Wisconsin is on a trajectory to grow engagement and funding with all communities it serves—not only this year but for the next 50 years.
“When we announced the OUR TEAM partnership in April, we knew it would be game-changing not only for the athletes of Special Olympics Wisconsin but for all athletes of all abilities in Wisconsin,” said Special Olympics Wisconsin President & CEO Chad Hershner. “The Green Bay Packers have proven their commitment to this first-of-its-kind initiative, beginning with naming Packers lineman Elgton Jenkins as their player ambassador and now through the Give Back Game. Alongside our athletes, we look forward to celebrating sports, inclusion, and Packers football on Aug. 19 and beyond.”