Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis didn’t know what to expect when he was told Monday he was going to an art gallery.
Then he saw Leo Twiggs’ “Requiem For Mother Emanuel.”
The six Panthers captains, along with head coach Ron Rivera and associate head coach Steve Wilks, went to Spartanburg’s TJC Gallery Monday and viewed nine pieces of art done in the wake of the Charleston shootings at Emanuel AME Church last year.
“Your initial thoughts, it takes you directly back to that day when you heard the news and what you were doing,” Davis said. “Knowing how tragic it was and knowing that there were a lot of people’s lives changed in that one instant. And it’s all coming back going back and looking at those paintings.”
The idea to go to the gallery was crafted by team president Danny Morrison and communications director Steven Drummond. Team owner/founder Jerry Richardson donated $100,000 to the families of the victims in the aftermath of the shootings, and quarterback Cam Newton visited victims’ families in Charleston, too.
“I thought Requiem was very important for our guys for a couple of reasons,” Rivera said. “One is what our owner did in response to the tragedy in Charleston and one is what Cam Newton did in response to the tragedy. And the other five team captains that went to share the message with their teammates if anybody asked.
“Based on what’s happening in our society today, that type of statement was important for us to make. When they came to me with the idea, I thought it was a great idea. They actually took me by myself to see it first. And it’s a very powerful statement.”