CINCINNATI -- Clayton Kershaw has made positive contributions off the field throughout his 10-year Major League career. The Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander’s latest endeavor is to serve on the advisory board for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, which advocates against the use of appearance and performance-enhancing substances by youth.
“It’s always great to do something to impact kids in sports,” Kershaw said. “And to put yourself out there to let kids know they can succeed in baseball without doing anything like that. If I can help with that, great.”
The Taylor Hooton Foundation announced Saturday that this year’s advisory board had reached a record 42 members with at least one representative from each of the 30 MLB teams. This is the fourth straight season that the advisory board has included at least one member from all 30 teams.
“The Taylor Hooton Foundation is simply overwhelmed by the support that these elite athletes and Major League Baseball provide to send such an important and positive message to our young people that they, too, can accomplish all of their dreams without the use of these dangerous and often illegal substances,” said foundation President Donald Hooton Jr. “Kids today are driven to look their best and millions of middle- and high-school kids are using appearance and performance-enhancing substances to achieve their goals.”
As members of the advisory board, the players are participating in the foundation's 2019 public-service campaign, All Me. For the campaign, a print PSA featuring each of the advisory board members has been created -- with images provided by THF national partner, Getty Images -- and will be made available to each player’s respective team for its program/magazine and other team platforms for the ‘19 season. In addition, All-Me-themed print PSAs will appear in Major League Baseball’s 2019 All-Star Game, League Championship-Series and World Series programs.
In addition to their participation in the public-service-ad campaigns, members of the advisory board also will take part in THF’s educational activities in their local communities. Board members have also provided their input on the most effective ways to educate young people about the dangers of anabolic steroids and other appearance and performance-enhancing substances.
“The moral compass of it, if you take steroids and you’re playing baseball, you know that you’re cheating, you have an unfair advantage and you have to live with that,” said Kershaw, a former Roberto Clemente Award and Marvin Miller Man of the Year recipient. “As a kid, there’s so much lasting impact [physically]. You can talk to guys who took them then stopped, their bodies just shut down. It’s just not worth it.”
To date, the foundation has spoken to and educated nearly 2 million people. It has a Latin American outreach and travels throughout the Caribbean, speaking to thousands of RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) athletes, coaches and parents in partnership with Major League Baseball. Additionally, THF introduced a new eLearning program in 2014 -- narrated by Bob Costas -- to Little League Baseball that is offered to its 1 million adult coaches and other volunteers.