The message behind Tyreke Smith’s ‘I Hope I Don't Get Killed For Being Black Today' T-shirt

Tyreke Smith
High school football prospect Tyreke Smith raised attention to the epidemic of blacks being killed at an alarming rate. (

Four-star 2018 defensive end recruit Tyreke Smith attended Ohio State’s one-day camp Saturday with an offer from the Buckeyes already in hand.

With little more to prove to the college football programs on the field — he has an offer from essentially every powerhouse in America — it was what he wore while participating that grabbed headlines.

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His shirt read “I Hope I Don’t Get Killed For Being Black Today.”

“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 Ohio State site Eleven Warriors. “What we would like to do is have people talk about these issues to reduce the murder rate of African-Americans.”

Smith hails from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, located in Cuyahoga County. The county experienced 168 homicides in 2016 alone, the most of any county in the state of Ohio. One such shooting in the area that garnered national attention was that of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014. The shirt was designed by Tyreke’s older brother Malik, a basketball player at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

Malik stressed that the shirt, which is available through his Twitter account, is not meant to target police brutality alone, but black-on-black crime as well.

“The shirt was created to bring light into the everyday problems that blacks face between police and black-on-black crimes,” Malik told Eleven Warriors. “The shirt exemplifies a voice that we have but may not be heard. So why not have people see it?

“We need to come together as a unit and stop coming after our own people,” he added. “We have to work together.” He also tweeted out support for his younger brother.

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Tyreke pointed to “a lack of parenting, community policing and valuing education” as issues that surround crime, and he took time to thank his own family, coaches and teachers for their positive impact on him.

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