Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford with his Repreve canvas painting.


Unifi Inc.’s Repreve recycled fiber brand is teaming up with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in a project to raise funds for a local youth center.

Stafford created five paintings made by dipping 12 footballs in paint and throwing them at Repreve-based canvases made from 35 recycled plastic bottles.

Starting Tuesday, an auction of all five paintings is open for bidding on eBay for seven days with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Sports, Academics, Youth Detroit Play Center. The S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center at Lipke Park offers athletic and academic programs to Detroit’s youth.

“When Repreve learned about Stafford’s initiative to transform the play center, we immediately wanted to help,” said Roger Berrier, president and chief operating officer of Unifi, based in Greensboro, N.C. “Auctioning the paintings allows anyone who is interested to not only participate in the cause but to own a piece of the project.”

Repreve is a fiber made from recycled materials, such as plastic bottles, and is used in many branded apparel products. Repreve is also the official recycling and sustainability partner of the Detroit Lions and has worked with the franchise to educate fans about the importance of recycling and showcasing the quality consumer products created from transformed plastic bottles. During the past two seasons, Lions fans have recycled 96,425 plastic bottles at Ford Field, the Lions stadium.

“I value many lessons learned playing sports in my youth, and rebuilding this center provides an opportunity for Detroit’s youth to learn through the same process,” Stafford said. “It’s been rewarding to help support the continued improvement of the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center. The experience of creating these paintings is one that I’ll never forget. Each canvas is made from recycled plastic bottles and serves as a reminder of how recycling can contribute to protecting our environment for future generations to enjoy.”

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