A 17-year-old created a buzz when he showed up on a recruiting trip to one of college football’s most vaunted programs wearing one of the blackest shirts of all time.
Cleveland19 reports that Tyreke Smith, a high school junior football player, is one of the most sought-after athletes in Ohio. The Cleveland Heights High School junior is a four-star defensive end being recruited by some of the country’s top universities, including Ohio State. Tyreke showed up for a recruiting visit to the Columbus, Ohio, school Saturday sporting a T-shirt that read, “I hope I don’t get killed for being black today.”
state was great!!!! ? pic.twitter.com/HlWtYBXhOu
— Tyreke Smith (@T_23_baller) June 17, 2017
Thousands of people liked and shared his tweet and other pictures of him wearing the tee on various news and sports sites.
Tyreke says that he knew he’d be photographed during his visit. “I decided to wear the shirt because I wanted to bring attention to the epidemic of blacks being killed at an alarming rate,” Tyreke told reporters. “What we would like to do is have people talk about these issues to reduce the murder rate of African Americans.”
Some think he might have worn it to remind people of the Tamir Rice case, which happened in Tyreke’s hometown of Cleveland. Others speculate that it was in response to the Philando Castile verdict, which happened the day before Tyreke’s visit. Even though Tyreke says he wanted to bring attention to all of the cases, some think it might have been a slight advertisement for his brother’s company, which sells the shirts.
However, the young, large, strong, athletic-looking 17-year-old might have worn the shirt with the incredibly poignant message for an entirely different reason:
Maybe he actually hopes he doesn’t get killed for being black today.