This OSU football prospect made a statement with "I hope I don't get killed for being Black today" shirt
Meet Tyreke Smith, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
If you’re a fan of college football, you probably already know his name. This four-star defensive is one of high school football’s top recruits, as he’s been sought after by Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Texas, UCLA and USC! Wow!
As the 17-year-old is juggling offers from the top schools in college football (not to mention close to 40 scholarship offers), Tyreke has decided used his platform and influence for something significant and pressing.
At Ohio State’s one-day camp, Smith chose to rock a statement piece t-shirt that said, “I Hope I Don’t Get Killed For Being Black Today,” according to Eleven Warriors.
On top of the general traumas and pressures Tyreke faces as a black man in this country, his particular county reached a state-high of 168 homicides last year. “I decided to wear the shirt because I wanted to bring attention to the epidemic of blacks being killed at an alarming rate,” Tyreke said. “What we would like to do is have people talk about these issues to reduce the murder rate of African Americans.”
Given his high-profile, Smith felt he couldn’t pass up such a huge press opportunity with the statement shirt.
“He asked me if he should wear it, [and] I said, ‘Absolutely, Tyreke,’” said Tyreke’s older brother Malik, who designed the shirt. “I told him to be ready for people to want to voice their own opinion about the shirt — good or bad. I also told him to be ready to have an answer and be able to fully explain the shirt in great detail. He did just that.”
Like many statements dealing with the worth of black lives in relation to police brutality and community violence, Smith has gotten some backlash on social media.
Of course, much of the criticism has been from people who have no idea what it’s like to exist-while-black everyday. “[They] are speaking negatively because they don’t understand what’s going on and the message behind it,” Tyreke noted.