Safety is one of the latest movies to come out on Disney+, and the story is about former Clemson football player Ray Ray McElrathbey. Although I have never heard of McElrathbey before, the story interested me for several reasons. First of all, although Clemson just lost in the College Football Playoff two days ago, they are still one of the premier college football programs in the nation. Second, considering Safety is a football movie that Disney had been hyping up recently, it seemed like a perfect match for my interests.
Safety reminds me a lot of The Blind Side, which was one of the most popular movies when it was released. The Blind Side starred Sandra Bullock, and it was about the true story of Michael Oher (based on the book written by Michael Lewis). While Oher had to overcome personal hardships in his upbringing, McElrathbey’s story is a bit different.
McElrathbey’s biggest challenge during his football career was that while he was on scholarship at Clemson, his mother was battling a drug addiction. This meant that his younger brother Fahmarr would have to go to foster care because he had no one else to take him in; however, McElrathbey didn’t want Fahmarr going to foster care, so he decided to try and take Fahmarr in and become his legal guardian. This meant that McElrathbey had to juggle being a scholarship football player, going to school himself, taking his brother to school, and taking care of his brother’s needs. It is an incredibly inspiring story, and one that Disney+ does a great job of describing (even if some parts may be embellished a bit). Even if you are not a sports fan, the story is so rich and uplifting that you would likely enjoy the movie.
Before watching the movie, I would highly recommend reading this ESPN article. It is written by ESPN’s Ryan Mcgee, and it has a lot of background and interviews with people who were portrayed in the movie. Reading the article before watching the movie will help prepare you for all of the scenes that you will see!
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