David Johnson, the star running back for the Arizona Cardinals, was bullied as a kid growing up in Iowa and he has made awareness of bullying a passion of his. This Sunday, Johnson will wear cleats against Washington to focus on the Stomp Out Bullying organization.

Johnson is one of 500 NFL players who will be wearing special cleats designed to highlight the charities and causes dear to their hearts during the Week 13 games. Johnson’s anti-bullying cleats for the Cause & Effect weekend are the only ones I could find that have a connection to LGBT issues. I asked Johnson via Twitter for a photo of the cleats, but he said they aren’t ready yet.

Bullying is a huge problem with LGBT people. As Stomp Out Bullying notes, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bullying is alarming. In fact 9 out of 10 LGBT students reported being harassed and bullied last year. Over one-third of LGBT students are physically assaulted at school because their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

In an essay on The Players’ Tribune, Johnson writes movingly of the fear and anxiety he faced while bullying growing up and how it motivated him to major in education at Northern Iowa so he could work with young people. The essay is well worth your time.

I still remember the feeling I’d get in the pit of my stomach when I realized I was about to be bullied … and that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. It was a type of dread — a physical sensation. I’d describe it as fear mixed with hopelessness. …

Since most incidents of bullying occur at school, there are students all across the country who simply do not want to show up for class each morning, or are afraid to, because they are being bullied. When they do go, these children have a more difficult time learning because they’re so worried about being picked on or beaten up. And things are even more devastating now than when I was growing up, because there’s been an increase in emotional bullying and cyberbullying. People will spread rumors or make fun of you on social media. In so many ways, our young people are being traumatized — some even to the point of attempting suicide. And the more I learned about this problem, the more I wanted to help.

New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa also intended to wear cleats to promote Stomp Out Bullying, but he is injured and his season unfortunately is over. That doesn’t make his passion for the issue any less intense. “I’ve seen incidences of bullying,” Darkwa wrote about his reasons for his cleats. “I know some kids become suicidal and don’t have the support they need and that’s upsetting to me.”

I have been a huge Johnson fan since he came into the NFL a year ago and love watching him play. Knowing what he is passionate about off the field makes me root for him even more.