The Seattle Seahawks 2020 NFL season may be over, but DK Metcalf’s fight for social justice continues on.
The Seahawks Pro Bowl receiver wore the name Emmett Till on his helmet all season long to raise awareness about the death of a Black teenager from Chicago who was lynched by white men and dumped in the Tallahatchie River after he allegedly flirted with a white woman at a convenience store. Till was just 14 years old.
Metcalf, who grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, roughly 90 minutes from the site of Till’s horrific murder, voiced his thoughts on Till’s legacy in the NFL’s latest installment of the Say Their Stories series, featuring George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.
“I think a lot of people don’t know about Emmett Till,” Metcalf said in the narrated video. “He got brutally beat — to death, actually — by these white men just for whistling at a white woman when he was down in Mississippi.
“They found him a few days later in the Tallahatchie River, which is, like, an hour away from me, from where I grew up. ... He was beaten, hung, drowned — whatever possible you could think of being done to a teenage boy...
Metcalf said he first heard Till’s story when he was in the fifth grade. Growing up in Mississippi, the Seahawks wide receiver says he’s not blind to the racism that exists in the South, but notes that 65 years later, it's something that is still prevalent in the rest of the United States.
“I’m sheltered because I’m an NFL football player, I’m a Black man first though,” Metcalf explained. “Once I take this Seahawks jersey off, once I leave this football game, I’m a regular Black man. How are my kids going to view the world? Because I know how I view it. This is not a new problem.”
Say Their Stories is part of the Inspire Change initiative that highlights social justice and works to raise awareness of systemic racism that has resonated throughout the nation.
Players like Metcalf look to enact fundamental change by amplifying the names and stories of victims of police brutality like Till, whose death sparked a Civil Rights movement.
‘Till’s life means awareness,” Metcalf said. “Say his name. Emmett Till.”