Ty Nsekhe knows too well what it is like to be a child with a broken heart. As a teenager, the Washington Redskins player lost a close friend to gun violence.
So as the holidays approached, Nsekhe wanted to touch the life of someone who too might be hurting this season. That’s when he thought about 5-year-old Dae’Anna Reynolds. She was in the back seat of the car when Philando Castile was pulled over for a traffic stop and fatally shot by a police officer on July 6.
“I know the emotions you’re overcome with when you lose someone to gun violence,” Nsekhe said. “I wanted a way to try and brighten up her day.”
So after getting a planning assist from the team, he went shopping. On a Redskins off-day, he went to an American Girl store in the D.C. area where he purchased a doll and much more for Reynolds, then sent them to her. He said it was a good experience, although he got some weird looks at first. People soon realized the 6-foot-8, 325-pound guy roaming the aisles was an NFL player.
Nsekhe, 31, spoke to Diamond Reynolds, Thursday morning. She told him that she was “very appreciative” of the kindness he’d shown.
In a statement given to the Washington Post through the family’s lawyer, 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 also plans to make a financial contribution to the family. St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez was indicted in the shooting and is facing three felony charges, including second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
“I was just going through everything that has happened this year and thinking about how that would affect a young girl. I wanted to make her year not so dark,” Nsekhe said.
A father of an 8-month-old son, the offensive tackle said now that he is settled with Washington after playing for numerous teams since beginning his career in the Arena Football League in 2009, he wants to do even more for others. Earlier this year, he donated 10 tickets to Dallas police officers when Washington played the Cowboys, according to the Washington Post.