Before the Texans game on Thanksgiving Day, the star quarterback will wear a special jersey to honor the late Houstonian
Ahead of the Houston Texans’ Thanksgiving Day versus the Detroit Lions, quarterback Deshaun Watson will arrive at Ford Field wearing a soccer jersey that he normally does not wear on Sundays.
Instead of « Texans », the jersey reads « Yates » in block letters on the chest. Representing the district of Houston, seven miles from the home ground of the city’s NFL franchise. Above the school’s name is a patch with the initials « GF » in honor of former Yates soccer player and graduate 1993 graduate George Floyd, who was killed six months ago in the Minneapolis Police Department custody. Inside the shirt collar is the word « Breathe », a reference to the phrase « I can’t breathe » that Floyd said to officers more than 20 times before the end of his life.
In early November, Watson teamed up with Nike and the Floyd family to provide the Yates soccer team with new uniforms, highlighted by the bespoke kit, in honor of the man whose tragic murder spread across Houston and around the world felt. The ongoing fight against racial injustice and police violence continues.
Nike, the sportswear company that Watson signed an endorsement deal with in 2017 before the Texans drafted it, reached out to the caller to support the student athletes at Floyd’s alma mater. And Watson, who signed a four-year $ 160 million contract extension in September to stay in Houston with the second-largest contract in NFL history, pledged to help.
On Thursday, Nike released a five-minute film starring Watson, Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams, and soccer players from Yates as part of its Stronger Than One documentary that features NFL athletes using the brand to give back to their local communities Promote conversation about social justice and equality.
« As someone who cares about these important issues and uses my voice to inspire change, working with Nike has given me the platform and resources to make a difference for these young children, » Watson told The Undefeated by email. « If I can make a positive impression on just one child, then I’m making a difference. ”
Floyd’s death in late May struck 25-year-old Watson, who plays in the town where the late 46-year-old Floyd grew up. A week after Floyd died of complications from a white police officer who kneeled on his neck for almost eight minutes, Watson and the Floyd family marched through downtown Houston in peaceful protest. A few days later, he appeared in a video with other NFL players asking the league to condemn racism. « I’m Frank Smart, » said Watson in the video as a tribute to the 39-year-old black man who died of a fit in 2015 after being physically held in a Pittsburgh prison.
And on the opening night of the NFL season in September, Watson and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the highest-paid player in league history, shut down arms in a joint demonstration they waged in protest against racial injustice on the field.
« [George Floyd’s murder affected me in many ways, » Watson wrote The Undefeated. « As a professional black athlete, I was more able than ever to use my voice to fuel the conversation about systematic racism and social injustice in our communities. « . As athletes, we have the power to make real lasting change about this conversation and so I will continue to advocate this movement. ”
Shortly after Floyd’s death, Nike committed $ 40 million over the next four years to “supporting organizations that put social justice, education and the fight against racial inequality in America at the center of their work. ”
Nike won Watson as head of prosecution in Houston, starting with a collaboration between the Texas quarterback and the Floyd family to support Yates High School. According to Nike, Watson and the family both had an influence on the design of the new uniforms, which were made exclusively for the school Floyd attended, and the team he played for at a state championship in 1993.
« Most of all, this gives us hope, » said Williams, Floyd’s nephew, in a statement to The Undefeated. “Everyone out here in the church has the common goal of wanting to get better and to do better. It means so much to see that everyone stands up for what they believe in. ”
Yates students debuted the uniforms on the soccer field during a 54-0 victory in the team’s last regular-season game in November. 5. In the design of the uniform, the word “Brotherhood” is integrated on the back of each jersey instead of the player’s name.
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« It just helps our children understand and our community understands we are important, » Yates chief football coach Michael Hickey, who was a high school teammate at Floyd in the early 1990s, told The Houston Chronicle. “Inner city schools are important. Football in the city center is important. I think it was earned for the children and the community and we are forever grateful for it. ”
Before the uniforms were presented to the Yates soccer team, Watson revealed them in a surprise video that was shown to the players on the team bus. The NFL star was given his own version of the jersey to wear during Thanksgiving foreplay. For Watson, however, sharing the uniform with the town’s kids he now calls home meant more than that, as they all build Floyd’s legacy on and off the field.
« These young people come from an area of Houston where football is their exit point to deal with life outside of the field, » Watson wrote. “They strive to be the best and get better every time they are suitable for training or a game and the shirt is a reminder that we must keep fighting for that advantage. The jersey should be a constant reminder that we are there together. ”
Aaron Dodson is a sports and culture writer for The Undefeated. He mainly writes about sneakers / clothing and moderates the platform’s video series “Sneaker Box”. During Michael Jordan’s two seasons with the Washington Wizards in the early 2000s, the « Flint » Air Jordan 9s sparked his passion for kicks.
Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, NFL, Deshaun Watson
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