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Falcon trades red jersey for green gear

Ovie Mughelli teams up with eco-friendly clothing line Origany

POSTED: April 5, 2011 11:59 p.m.
/For The Times

Atlanta Falcon fullback Ovie Mughelli recently teamed up with eco-friendly clothing line, Origany, to promote a green way of life. The clothing line offers athletic-themed outfits for babies, toddlers and children.

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Ovie Mughelli has been an advocate of health and wellness among young people for years.

His involvement with teaching kids about the importance of the environment and his passion to make the world a greener place for future generations has come more recently for the Atlanta Falcons pro bowl fullback.

"To be completely honest, when I first was approached about the idea I was hesitant," Mughelli said about using his foundation, the Ovie Mughelli Foundation, as a tool to help kids be more eco-friendly.

"I had always been interested in helping kids lead more physical and healthy lifestyles, but the eco-conscious side of things wasn’t my thing," he added.

That was until he met Laura Turner Seydel.

"She kind of opened my eyes to a lot of things," he said.

Seydel, daughter of businessman and environmental activist Ted Turner, is the chairwoman for the Captain Planet Foundation, which aims to fund environmental projects for young people and adults.

"She wanted my help to assist with educating the segment of young people, mostly in poor or underprivileged areas, with the importance of taking care of our environment and living eco-friendly lives," Mughelli said. "After hearing some of the facts she gave me, I became more interested and I love working with kids," he added.

Beginning the Ovie Mughelli Foundation in 2004 with the goal of educating young people about the importance of living active lifestyles, Mughelli incorporated an eco-conscious focus in 2007 after speaking with Turner. He now is considered one of the most environmentally active figures in sports, ranking No. 2 on the Top Five Eco Athletes list on TreeHugger.com, behind race car driver Leilani Munter and ahead of snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, basketball player Yao Ming and cyclist Lance Armstrong.

This week, Mughelli teamed up with eco-friendly children’s clothing line Origany to introduce a new line of athletic inspired clothing for infants and toddlers that are made from organic cotton and other eco-friendly materials.

The line, called the Authentic Eco-Athlete Collection, features five different sports motifs — football, baseball, bicycling, tennis, and the all-around eco-athlete — and comes in bodysuits, pants, rompers, jackets and hats for infants and T-shirts, dresses, and hoodies for toddlers.

Origany CEO Raj Sardesh said he was excited to have Mughelli on board, as he shares a love for environmental protection and safety when it comes to harmful chemicals often put into clothing.

"It just seemed like a perfect match," Sardesh said. "Ovie is the perfect person to help us kick off this new line and will hopefully help both the success of Origany as well as the Ovie Mughelli Foundation."

In the partnership, 5 percent of all proceeds from the line will go to the foundation, while 20 percent of proceeds will be donated from purchases of exclusive Origany apparel featuring the number 34, to represent Mughelli’s jersey number for the Atlanta Falcons.

Mughelli said that he supports Origany in its efforts to produce children’s clothing that do not contain harmful chemicals, insecticides and dyes.

According to the Organic Trade Association, cotton covers only 2.5 percent of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16 percent of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop. Additionally, harmful insecticides including aldicarb, parathion and methamidopho — three of the most acutely hazardous insecticides listed by the World Health Organization — rank in the top 10 of the most commonly used among cotton crops and production.

According to Sardesh and www.origany.com, organically grown cotton eliminates these harmful chemicals and assures that no synthetic substances were used in the cultivation and harvesting of the fibers.

For Mughelli, these facts were eye opening.

"A lot of people, including myself at one time, don’t realize the harmful chemicals that our clothes can contain, especially in children’s clothing," Mughelli said. "As the organic industry grows with more organic foods in grocery stores and companies like Origany, more and more people are beginning to realize the importance that organic products bring. Some of them might be more expensive, but they are just better for you," he added.

Mughelli hopes that after having a breakout season with Atlanta, where he became the first fullback in Falcons history to make the pro bowl, that both the new clothing line and his foundation will continue to grow.

"My success on the field has allowed me to do everything I am able to do off the field. I am able to bring more fans and friends into my ventures outside of football because of successes on the field. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am and I’m happy that I now have the opportunity to give back and make a difference," he said.

Above all else, Mughelli wants to help kids understand the importance of taking care of the environment and empower youths to take ownership and pride on how they play into the betterment of the future.

Youths, who without his help, may not ever be exposed to such ideas.

"My foundation has the only football camp in world that promotes eco-education," Mughelli said. "We want to reach out to kids that otherwise would not have an opportunity to receive this kind of info.

"My hope is that one day we can reach 10’s of thousands of kids from all over the world, including my home country of Nigeria."

 

 



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