*An Ohio State University football recruit showed up to camp Saturday with a t-shirt that left all subtlety at the door regarding his thoughts on police shootings of unarmed black men.
Tyreke Smith, 17, is a junior and four-star defensive end at Cleveland Heights High School, but made more headlines for his t-shirt, which 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
Being from northeast Ohio, many thought Smith was referencing Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old who was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer in 2014.
But Smith told ElevenWarriors.com that his aim was to raise awareness about the epidemic, overall.
“I decided to wear the shirt because I wanted to bring attention to the epidemic of blacks being killed at an alarming rate,” he told the site. “What we would like to do is have people talk about these issues to reduce the murder rate of African-Americans.”
Smith said he knew a lot of eyeballs would see the shirt, as hundreds of prospects, parents and the media were at the camp.
Smith said his older brother Malik designed the shirt and he’s selling them via direct message on Twitter.
“The shirt was created to bring light into the every day problems that blacks face between police and black-on-black crimes,” Malik, told the site. “The shirt exemplifies a voice that we have, but may not be heard. So why not have people see it?”
The response to Smith’s activism has been overwhelmingly positive, with seven out of every 10 replies to his above tweet showing support. As for those three out of ten: “[They] are speaking negatively because they don’t understand what’s going on and the message behind it,” Tyreke said.