Washington Redskins tackle Ty Nsekhe is attempting to bring joy to victims of another tragedy that occurred this year. On the team’s day off Tuesday, Nsekhe went Christmas shopping for Dae’Anna Reynolds, the daughter of Philando Castile’s girlfriend, hoping to spread the holiday cheer on Christmas week.
The 5-year-old was in a car seat on the passenger side of the back seat when police shot and killed Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn., a suburb in the Twin Cities area, during a traffic stop July 6 while her mother, Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, recorded the event on Facebook Live.
Nsekhe said he reached out to Redskins public relations to come up with a way to give back during the holiday season to someone who was affected by tragedy this year. He didn’t watch the video, but he was moved by the details of the situation and wanted to give back to Reynolds, nearly six months after his death, during the family’s first Christmas without him.
“I just decided why not give back to a little girl that’s gone through such a traumatic event in such a short period of time,” Nsekhe said. “Losing a loved one and actually seeing something like that, that can be traumatizing to her — especially to a 5-year-old. It impacted me, and I felt like maybe I could do something to brighten her day. Hopefully, she can get a smile out of this.”
While shoppers at Tysons Corner Center spent their afternoon looking to purchase last-minute Christmas items, the 31-year-old went to American Girl to buy Reynolds a doll, a stuffed dog and various accessories that will arrive in the Twin Cities later this week. Nsekhe, who has an eight-month-old son, had never stepped foot inside an American Girl but paid a visit once he heard it was one of Reynolds’s favorite stores.
“She’s a little princess, so it matches the theme of her life,” Nsekhe said.
In a statement from the family’s lawyer, Diamond Reynolds said, “The holidays are a tough time for Dae’Anna and I without Philando. He was a loving and caring person who loved us and we loved him. Knowing that people like Ty and the Redskins are thinking of us and care means a lot and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts. Dae’Anna loves the gift and we appreciate it.”
Nsekhe said there are plans to make a contribution to the family to help provide financial support. The St. Anthony police officer involved in the shooting, Jeronimo Yanez, faces three felony charges — second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm — and on Monday deferred entering a plea until a trial judge has been assigned to the case.
It’s the second time Nsekhe has attempted to console the victims of a national incident that highlighted America’s ongoing racial tension in 2016. When the Redskins faced the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day at AT&T Stadium, the Arlington, Tex., native donated 10 tickets to Dallas police officers and families affected by July’s shootings.
Nsekhe said at the time that it was just the start of his charitable acts, and he’s remained true to his word by giving back to Castile’s family.
“I’ve been through different things in my past that have put me in position to understand where people are coming from,” Nsekhe said. “I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been on the wrong side of the law, so I know what it’s like for police officers to do their jobs and how dangerous that can be. So I understand that completely. Just the fact that I’ve been there and now able to come full-circle, I’m in a different light and on a different platform and just trying to use my platform for good.”
Nsekhe, who is a free agent at the end of the year, said he is not finished with his acts of kindness. He wouldn’t go into details about what he has in store, but he has vowed to continue making a positive impact with the many blessings he’s received in his life this year, both on and off the field.
“I’m just a human being trying to be a genuine person and trying to show that I have great character on and off the field,” Nsekhe said. “Hopefully somebody can learn from the values that I’m displaying, feel moved and want to do the same thing. Pay it forward.
“Hopefully I can do my part and somebody can take heed to what I’ve done, and they can do their part. So on and so forth. Slowly but surely, we can move this country forward — in a positive direction.”
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