On Sunday afternoon, about a dozen football players from the Tampa area gathered to remove some of the debris left behind by protests spawned by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.
The cleanup crew included Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III, and his brother, Jordan McCloud, a quarterback at the nearby University of South Florida.
McCloud III began the effort with a text to his childhood friend Cadi Molina, who played high school football in the area.
“I got a text from my boy,” Molina told WTSP. He was like ‘Yo. We’re gonna go clean. We’re gonna hit the streets. I was like ‘Yeah, let’s do it.'”
“It was kind of funny,” Molina continued. “We walked right past the yellow tape and the [Hillsborough County] Sheriff Chad [Chronister] was out there. We didn’t get bothered by nobody. People saw us out there. They didn’t bother us. They helped out.”
Clad in gloves and masks, the players focused their efforts on a strip center that was on fire during the protests, which were centered in the expansive parking lot of the University Mall across the street. Their efforts attracted a crowd, and by the end of the effort, about 30 people were helping to clear the area.
A wonderful act of service.
Tampa area football players — including Bengals WR Auden Tate, Bills WR Ray-Ray McCloud, Colts CB Isaiah Rodgers, USF QB Jordan McCloud — lead cleanup efforts on Fowler Ave after last night’s looting
— Grace Remington (@GraceRemiWTSP) June 1, 2020
Two hours after they arrived, the group had removed the broken glass and sheets of dislodged awning that had collected in the parking lot, a small but tangible effort that they hoped would help the people whose businesses had been damaged.
“If you want to see change, you’ve got to be the change. You’ve got to go out and do it yourself,” Devin Santana, now a coach at Clemson, said. “You’ve got to show people that there are really good people in this world,”