Oakland Raiders running back DeAndré Washington will be rocking an orange ensemble in honor of his sister who was one of the victims of a mass shooting in New Orleans last August.
According to PEOPLE, Taeisha Watkins, who the NFL star grew up with and considered a sibling, was on a girls’ trip last summer when she was caught in the crossfire of gunmen in a New Orleans parking lot.
“It was senseless,” Washington said to the outlet. “She was my best friend.”
The player had been with her right before she went on the New Orleans’ trip and couldn’t imagine that was the last time
In honoring her memory, the athlete now plans to step out on Friday in an orange shirt, pants, and shoes as part of “Everytown for Gun Safety’s” 5th Annual “Wear Orange” campaign to commemorate National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“I hope people understand that you don’t have to turn to a gun for every incident. People are just so quick to pick up a gun for any disagreement. In the big picture, is it really worth it?”
Washington, 26, recalled feeling numb when he first heard of Watkins’ death during the Raiders’ training camp in Napa, California.
'I get the chills and feel her around me. Her boundless energy' ~ DeAndré Washington
The player had been with her right before she went on the New Orleans’ trip and couldn’t imagine that was the last time he would see his sister.
“If you weren’t having the best day you could always call on my sister,” Washington shared of the late 27-year-old. “And you could guarantee by the time y’all got through talking you would cheer up a little bit.”
“Her energy was just contagious. People loved being around her, people migrated to her. She was very outgoing and loved being with her family and with her friends.”
In November, Washington paid tribute to Watkins by rocking custom blue and orange cleats as part of the NFL’s annual “My Cause, My Cleats campaign,” reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
According to The Athletic, blue represents the color of the sky where Washington’s angel, Watkins, resides, while orange represents the National Gun Violence Awareness movement.
DeAndré Washington’s cleats in honor of his sister’s memory. | Photo: Instagram/ DeAndre Washington
Even though it’s been almost a year since the death of Watkins, who left behind a five-year-old daughter, Washington says he still feels her presence.
“There will be random times of the day when I’m reading a book or listening to a song that makes me think about her and I get the chills and feel her around me. Her boundless energy.”
“That’s why I consider her my angel,” he concluded.
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