The Houston Texans are teaming with the NFL Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to award a total of $450,000 to renovate and resurface the athletic field at Yates High School.
The funding is to help a project to address the shortage of clean, safe and accessible athletic fields in Third Ward. Members of the McNair family and others presented a check at the dedication ceremony Friday at Yates High School’s football field.
Many supporters, including Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, called for the field to be renamed after Houston native George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white cop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which led to nationwide protests and outrage.
“I think it’s important for us to remember why we’re here today and why this school,” said Ellis. “This new athletic field is because one year and a few days ago, a graduate of this school died a horrendous death. And I just want to make sure for one second... if I might say his name, George Floyd.”
Houston ISD School Board must approve the official renaming of the field.
Ellis said this is a positive investment in a community that represents George Floyd since it’s the school where he graduated from, played football, and across the street from where he grew up in the Cuney Homes.
“We’re talking about how to open the doors of opportunity for people who’ve been left out for so long. Something great is gonna happen,” he said. “And we regret that somebody had to die so that we would do this. But we ought to take this and see what lessons we learn, and in what ways we are all inspired to do better than a life that was there for George Floyd.”
Along with the funds, the Texans are also helping to donate the team’s artificial playing surface from NRG Stadium to be installed at Yates, in partnership with the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation-NRG Park, Ellis, and Hellas Construction, Inc. This artificial playing surface being donated is valued at $1.25 million, according to a Texans press release.
“The Houston Texans are proud to work with our partners to support the renovation of the Jack Yates High School Athletic Field,” said Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair in the press release. “Our hope is that this field enriches a love of sports across the youth in the historic Third Ward, prompting the next generation of student-athletes and leaders.”