INDIANAPOLIS, Ind – Football coaches on the near northwest side are leading by example.
The youth football league is working to make a difference in their community in honor of one of their own. They’re teaching kids to become leaders on the field to avoid violence on the streets.
Sunday was the third annual Deshaun Swanson Classic, an event to honor the 10-year-old Indianapolis boy who was murdered in a drive-by shooting in the Butler Tarkington area four years ago. Unfortunately, the case remains unsolved.
“From the youngsters to the teenagers to the young adults, value your life,” said Coach Donnell Hamilton as he spoke to a group of youth football players. “You only get one. Make great decisions, the wrong decision could cost you your life.”
It’s a message that hits home for the Indy Steelers Youth Football League. Hamilton coached Deshaun in football and is close to the Swanson family.
“Little man was the littlest guy on the field but had the biggest heart,” said Hamilton. “He tried to do everything he could to stay out of trouble, he was just a great kid.”
Family, friends and community groups gathered at the Deshaun Swanson Classic to release balloons and share memories, while also showing the youth that they have support.
“When we do stuff like this, we have the attention of the youth,” said Hamilton, “A lot of us don’t have the time or don’t try to grab their ear. Everything we try to do is be positive and make them look for the future.”
For 15-year-old football player Kaumarion, he said his community needs more role models like his coaches.
“We need more men like this in the city to guide these kids down the right path and to not end up dead or in jail,” he said, “Cherishing these moments like this, because you never know when it could end.”
If you have any information that could help police in the Deshaun Swanson case, call crime stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.