Disney’s New Film ‘Safety’ Is About Family, Fortitude & College Football’s Blessings

The real-life story of former Clemson University football player Ray Ray McElrathbey is being retold in one of the most heartwarming ways by the big mouse.

Walt Disney Studios released the trailer for their new movie, Safety, a dramatization of a redshirt freshman in 2006 who had to take his brother in because their mother was placed in rehab.

His little bro’s name is Fahmarr and at 11 years old would not have been able to care for himself while their mom battles her drug addiction. So the options for his care were bleak: foster care was an option.

However, McElrathbey, played by newcomer Jay Reeves, rises to the occasion and assumes responsibility for his sibling.

Under the direction of Reginald Hudson, the trailer shows the conflict of being a student-athlete with the huge responsibility of being a guardian —having the child live with him on campus no less — and balancing a love interest.

The audience will smile as they recognize Corrine Foxx, the daughter of Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx. She appears to have inherited her father’s charm on the camera and brings a sincere quality in a couple of seconds afforded her in the trailer. She made them work and owned her space alongside the film’s featured actor.

Ironically, Daddy Foxx also stars in an animated film produced by Disney and Pixar that is called Soul that comes out on December 11 the same day as “Safety.”

These are the movies and the stories we rarely hear in the media that is often focused on exposing the negatives of college football, calling it exploitive to young Black athletes, and devaluing the total experience that students gain from becoming the “family” of a university.

While systemic racism and financial exploitation are embedded somewhere in the fabric of our college institutions across the country — ills of sports aside — the college experience is a gift to many of those same students who we are protecting when we expose the injustices and inequities in college athletics.

The lifelong friendships these athletes of color develop, the discipline and inspiration they gain and the overall diversity of that experience is invaluable.

Everyone’s journey is not going to be the same, but “Safety” gives you a glimpse into the other side of college football. The side that is the foundation of the sport and why it is such a popular cultural mainstay in the lives and communities of so many Americans. The sport not only provides an enriching financial and developmental lifeline for many underserved kids but also provides hope for so many students who are trying to navigate a better tomorrow on campus while dealing with the harsh realities of life.

Back to top