Promote international diversity: Four Steelers players will participate in a special international diversity initiative being conducted by the NFL over the next two weeks by wearing a country or territory flag helmet sticker that represents their nationality or culture.
The player-led initiative showcases the global influence of the NFL with over 50 nations and territories represented. In addition to the American flag, players may fly the flag of any country where they have lived for two years or more, or have a parent or grandparent who was born there.
Among the participants are David Anenih (Nigeria), Chase Claypool (Canada), Larry Ogunjobi (Nigeria) and Chukwuma Okorafor (Nigeria).
“I think it’s amazing,” said Ogunjobi. “My parents were immigrants. I belong to the first generation here in the USA. I believe there are more than 80 Nigerian players playing in the NFL. It means a lot to me and my compatriots to carry this flag and represent our country. We don’t come from many backgrounds, but it’s exciting to do these things and represent our country in the right way and be a part of something special.”
Ogunjobi’s parents, Larry and Mercy Ogunjobi, moved to the United States in 1993, a year before he was born. He is committed to constantly striving for more to honor the sacrifices they have made.
“We come from humble beginnings and every day I think about what they went through to bring me here and give me a better life and better opportunities,” Ogunjobi said. “I try to repay them every day with my work and how I attack every day.”
He is joined by Anenih and Okorafor, who carry the Nigerian flag, carried by more players than any other flag.
“It means a lot to me, especially because my parents, my mother and my father still live in Nigeria,” said Anenih. “Without my parents, without their upbringing, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It means a lot to me to represent my country.
“I think it’s a good thing to allow non-American people to represent where they’re from, where their parents were born, so it’s really a positive thing.”
Okorafor, who was born in Nigeria, also understands the sacrifices that were made for them to have the life they have now.
“It means a lot to do this,” Okorafor said. “We all made it to the NFL, but you have to remember what your parents did to get us here. Every day I look back on my life, what my mom and dad had to do to get us here. It means a lot.”
Born and raised in Canada, Claypool is excited to see more Canadians play in the NFL every year.
“Wearing the flag is something I did on the back of my helmet in college, so I think it’s cool that I can do it in the NFL, too,” Claypool said. “I think it shows the diversity. There aren’t too many of us from Canada, but more and more are coming into the league. I think it will be cool to see the other Canadian players and even other countries. It will a topic of conversation and makes us more of a family.”