JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Receivers for the Jacksonville Jaguars and defensive end Ryan Davis wore "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts during warmups before their Thursday night game against the Tennessee Titans.
This is the final home game of the year for the Jaguars, and the final Thursday night game in the NFL season.
Both teams are 2-12.
The black T-shirts with white print were worn over their long-sleeved warm-up gear on a cool night in Jacksonville.
The slogan refers to Eric Garner, who died after a New York police officer placed him in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes. A grand jury decided not to indict the officer. A video of the arrest showed Garner gasping, "I can't breathe."
Other NFL players and athletes have worn the shirts in recent weeks.
Ron Davis, whose son Jordan Davis was killed in a high-profile case, traveled to New York for a protest there and spoke with Garner's son about what the shirts, protests and all the efforts mean.
"They thought that it was a great thing that people were coming together, and when they see the 'I can't breathe,' they know that's in reference to their father, so they thought it was a great thing that that happened," Davis said.
JeffriAnne Wilder, associate professor of sociology at the University of North Florida, said although the players' move was silent, it was strategic and impactful.
"To have celebrities with celebrity status to come out, you know, in a very sort of subtle way to express their concern and sort of polite activism, if you will, I think it's important and definitely makes a statement," Wilder said.
As for how the statement is received, Wilder said it's mixed, depending on how people feel about the issue.
"If it were breast cancer awareness or leukemia or even ALS, I think those are those are not racially charged or even controversial types of issues," Wilder said. "This however is."
Wilder said she doesn't know if the T-shirts will actually change anyone's mind, but she said it would cause people to start a conversation about the issue and perhaps try to understand people who are on the other side of their perspective.
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