HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans wore orange T-shirts during Wednesday's OTA practice to bring awareness to gun violence ahead of National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday and Wear Orange Weekend.
"We want to make sure that we support that situation and just the senseless gun violence that is going on," Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. "We want to use our voice as an organization and as a team to make sure that we put an end to it. It's senseless shootings that are going on around our country that sometimes we can just grow numb to it because it happens so often. We just had to bring awareness to it and understand the severity of the situation, where kids, unfortunately, are losing their lives to something that senseless, and we just make sure we support and get out in front of it."
The orange shirts had "Uvalde" on the back to support Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a year after a mass shooting took the lives of 19 students and two teachers.
"We decided to wear orange shirts ahead of [Wear Orange Weekend] in a couple of days in support of, first and foremost, the one-year anniversary of the Uvalde school shooting," Ryans said. "As you guys know, a staff member of ours, Roland Ramirez, is our head athletic trainer, and it's a place where he grew up. He knew a lot of people there who were involved in that situation. It's a situation that's near and dear to our hearts."
Ryans is passionate about gun violence because it's a situation that has affected him and his family, as well.
"I've lost a cousin to gun violence, and unfortunately, a week ago, another cousin of mine was shot [as] an innocent bystander," Ryans said. "So for me, it is personal because it's near and dear to my heart because I've lost family.
DeMeco Ryans explaining why the Texans coaching staff wore orange shirts ahead of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. pic.twitter.com/uB0G6PTDlf— DJ Bien-Aime (@Djbienaime) May 31, 2023
"For me, I have three young kids. So when you send your kids off to school, to even have that thought in the back of your mind that, 'Man are my kids going to be safe? Am I going to see them?' It's not the mindset you want to have when you're dropping your kids off at school. It's something that we shouldn't have to worry about. We shouldn't have to discuss it, but it's here. And we want to make sure that we bring awareness to it because it is a real issue that hits home for a lot of people."
This is another act of the Texans supporting the Uvalde community. After last year's shooting, the Texans donated $400,000 to the Robb School Memorial Fund, and Texans players donated $200,000. Last season, the organization hosted the Uvalde High School football team to watch the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts and wore "Uvalde Strong" decals on their helmets. The organization also provided the team with new Nike uniforms.