For the Dolphins, 2017 is about building on last season's wild-card berth. But for the organization, it's also been about connecting with the surrounding communities in ways no other franchise has ever done.
Miami's pro football team stepped outside of the conventional charity box (think building neighborhood playgrounds and houses) by reaching out to and inviting youth teams from the city's roughest sections, including inviting a squad co-founded by rapper and activist Luther Campbell, to watch Dolphins practices in person and interact with the team's players. From there, the Dolphins have moved into the civic realm, looking to lead by example via a voter registration drive with some help from special guest Martin Luther King III.
The team aims to become the first in the nation's history to have a roster of fully registered voters. The son of the civil rights icon has even been seen flagging down Dolphins players within the team's facility to ensure registration forms were properly completed.
"Of course, the hope is that translates to encouraging more people across our nation to get engaged and to vote because a vote-less people, as dad said, is a powerless people," King said Thursday, via the Miami Herald. "One of the most important steps that we can take is that short step to the ballot box."
As the players take on-field steps toward another playoff appearance, and the game's future generations watch with excitement and awe from the sidelines before interacting with their favorite players, the organization is leading a movement that encourages the nation's citizens to use their constitutional right. The event was created through a relationship with RISE (The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality) and the Drum Major Institute. The ultimate goal is to rally professional athletes, teams and leagues to promote civic participation in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 26.