BEAVERTON, Ore. — Nike rolls out its newest and best apparel for some of the top high school football prospects at an annual event called The Opening. As the gear makes its way around and shirts and shoes are passed to the high schoolers, Tyreke Smith is hoping his shirt draws the most attention.
Smith, an ESPN 300 defensive end from the Cleveland area, first wore a homemade T-shirt that reads “I hope I don’t get killed for being black today” on June 17 at a camp on Ohio State’s campus. He brought the shirt with him to The Opening hoping he can continue to push his message forward and keep drawing attention to the cause.
“Our parents are always talking about how you have to watch your back and that life is not promised,” Smith said. “I live in Cleveland and the murder rates are high. It’s not just about cops killing blacks, either, it’s black-on-black crime. You never know when you step out of the house, and you don’t know if you’ll come back.”
In an environment where the players on the field are clad in popular sports brands and the most shocking aspect is usually the color of the shirt, Smith stood out with the statement about the color of his skin.