Former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss used his wardrobe to make a powerful statement at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, wearing a necktie bearing the names of African-Americans killed by police or while in police custody.
Moss’ black tie with gold lettering listed more than 10 names, including Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland and Alton Sterling.
Rice, 12, was shot and killed in 2014 by a Cleveland officer who mistook his toy gun for a real weapon. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by a New York Police Department officer in 2014. Gray died after suffering a neck injury while in the custody of Baltimore police in 2015.
Bland died in a Waller County, Texas, jail in July 2015, three days after being arrested for allegedly failing to use a turn signal. Sterling was killed in July 2016 by one of two officers who confronted him outside a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, convenience store.
“What I wanted to be able to express with my tie is to let these families know that they’re not alone,” Moss told NFL Network, according to Bleacher Report. “I’m not here voicing, but by these names on my tie and a big platform as the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there’s a lot of stuff going on in our country. And I just wanted to let these family members know they’re not alone.”
Moss played 14 seasons in the NFL, most notably with the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots, with whom he set a record for most touchdown receptions in a season (23) in 2007.
He joins a growing list of pro athletes who have paid tribute to African-Americans killed by police, most notably Colin Kaepernick, whose act of kneeling during the National Anthem in the 2016 NFL season caused widespread controversy and helped propel issues of police brutality and social injustice into national discourse.