In NFL Characters Unite, Cruz meets 19-year old Joey Kemmerling, who came out when he was a middle school student. Joey was relentlessly bullied for years because of his sexual orientation. Classmates called him hateful names, physically hurt him and even threatened to light him on fire. The school locker room was a particularly painful and dangerous place for Joey, as much of the taunting took place there. At one point in high school, the situation got so bad that he contemplated suicide. With the support of his mother, Joey was able to move past the homophobia and harassment he experienced and he decided to use his voice to help stop bullying. He launched a youth-led anti-bullying organization, became active with the nonprofit GLSEN and has spoken to groups of students, educators and even members of Congress. Now, thanks to Victor Cruz, he gets an opportunity to clear another hurdle: revisiting a locker room, a place that still conjures up painful memories. Cruz takes Joey on a tour of the New York Giants locker room to help him put the agony of his past truly behind him. Joey gains closure he needs to continue on his path to full recovery and learns to Never Say Never to overcoming his fears.
New York Giants
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is among the fastest and most agile players in the game. However, before he was a Super Bowl champion, Cruz faced a different kind of opponent off the field. While growing up in Patterson, New Jersey, he often faced discrimination because he is half Puerto Rican and half African American. His school was very divided along racial/ethnic lines and he was frequently caught between the two different worlds with which he identified. He was often taunted and ridiculed for not choosing a side. Cruz understands what it is like to be treated like an outcast simply because of who you are, and he is dedicated to helping those who are experiencing similar hate and discrimination in their own lives.