In late August, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was in the midst of a contract holdout when team owner Jerry Jones said "Zeke who?" in an effort to make a joke. At the time, this was viewed as disrespectful by Elliott, but he and Jones ultimately turned the phrase into a T-shirt. The proceeds from that endeavor are now being used to help out the less fortunate.
Tuesday afternoon, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News revealed that the Cowboys were donating $150,000 to the Salvation Army. This money stems from sales of the "Zeke who" shirt sales. According to the team website, all proceeds from the shirt sales would be donated to the Salvation Army, which means that they sold roughly 5,000 tees at a price of $29.99 each.
The Cowboys weren't alone in this donation. Elliott also added his own contribution. He sent $100,000 to the Salvation Army on Tuesday.
Cowboys have donated $150,000 in proceeds from “Zeke Who?” T-shirt sales to Salvation Army. RB Ezekiel Elliott also donated an additional $100,000 from his September contract extension. A significant jump into the red kettle. pic.twitter.com/6abSOhB6W9— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 26, 2019
The timing of this donation fits with the annual Salvation Army Red Kettle Kickoff. This campaign is used to raise money to assist those less fortunate during the holiday months, and the Dallas Cowboys have long been partners in this pursuit. The team celebrates the Red Kettle Campaign each season during their Thanksgiving game, and they keep a massive red kettle behind the end zone in hopes of drawing donations.
The Salvation Army and the Red Kettle Campaign have significant ties to Elliott given that he was once penalized after jumping into the kettle during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This action entertained many fans of the team and actually inspired $250,000 in additional donations, according to the team website.
In 2018, Elliott and the Cowboys said that they would match all $21 donations to the Salvation Army. The significance of this specific number is that Elliott wears No. 21 on his jersey. He also pulled out that exact amount and tossed it into the kettle after scoring a touchdown.
The kettle hasn't made an appearance at the Cowboys game just yet, but it will be present on Thanksgiving during a battle with the Buffalo Bills. Elliott is just starting his yearly donation earlier than normal.
Photo Credit: Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty