The two NFL teams residing in Los Angeles, the Rams and the Chargers, partnered to surprise the Inglewood High School and Morningside High School football teams with a uniform reveal on Tuesday, August 7th.
Rams Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON and former Chargers Defensive End Marcellus Wiley greeted the respective teams after their football practices had concluded. While the boys were surprised with the appearance of NFL Legends on their fields, the real surprise was waiting for them in their school gymnasiums. Led into the gyms by Dickerson and Wiley, the high school student-athletes were thrilled when they saw their new uniforms.
"Wooo hooo!" exclaimed Noah Hollins, a senior on the Morningside High School football team. "These jerseys are nice. From what I've seen my past three years, these jerseys are just beautiful. They're outstanding and so great. I love them."
To the players, the Rams and the Chargers provided more than just new uniforms, but words of encouragement and guidance that transcend the sport of football.
"It feels phenomenal," said Jaquan Banks, a junior on the Inglewood High School football team. "We know we have big brothers behind us now. They're always supporting us through everything and I'm so happy we got these nice new uniforms too!"
According to Inglewood Mayor JAMES BUTTS and Inglewood High School's head coach Michael Grimble, the neighboring high schools have been struggling to find the funds for new jerseys over the past few years.
"Inglewood is a solid city, but we need a little help here and there," said Grimble. "When you have people come in and help you out, it's always a great thing. When the boys walked in here, they went bananas. This is a major jump for the kids…All I did was simply reach out and that's the beautiful thing. Sports in our city and kids go hand in hand. That's what we stem from and this whole joint venture between the Rams and Chargers taking place today is nothing but a very positive thing."
After the jersey reveal, Dickerson, Wiley and Mayor James Butts spoke to the players about the values of football and the importance of academics. It was a unique experience for student-athletes to receive advice on how to succeed on and off the field from role models in their community. The afternoon was especially impactful for Wiley, who grew up in Inglewood and began his football career there.
"Thirty-five years ago, I was a Pop Warner player in Inglewood," said Wiley. "To be able to come back to where it started for me on the field and give these kids another sense of hope is outstanding."
With football season kicking off for high school and the NFL, it was a perfect time to embolden the teens and give back to the Inglewood community.
"I think it's great," said Roderick Harvey, Morningside Head Coach. "It inspires the players for bigger and better things. We're real excited to have you guys here in this city."
As the stadium in Inglewood nears 50% completion, Mayor James Butts believes the Rams and Chargers continuing to work together to give back endears them to Inglewood residents and immerses them in the community.
"The Rams and Chargers are a part of our community because they are invested in the kids in this community," said Butts. "Every year for the basketball and football teams, we collect donations to buy uniforms and then we hope we're going to get enough to get the home jerseys. Well this year, the Rams and the Chargers donated 50 home and 50 away uniforms to not only Inglewood High but to Morningside High as well. Our kids know this year, they're as good as anybody."
To view the video footage from this event, click here.
For more information about the Rams community outreach events, please visit therams.com/community.