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Atlanta Falcons player and local artist collaborate to honor Ahmaud Arbery during game

Four days after the verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case, Atlanta based artist Curtis Dre helped a Falcons player honor Arbery during a game.

ATLANTA — A jury found the three white men accused of killing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery guilty on Nov. 24.

Four days after the verdict, Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle “Flash” Patterson stepped out onto TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Florida wearing custom cleats to honor him. 

Patterson wore black, gray, and white Nike cleats with red laces. The left cleat read "R.I.P. Ahmaud Arbery" and "Hate cannot Drive out hate. Only love can do that." The right cleat read, "Stop systemic racism." 

The customized cleats were designed by artist Curtis Dre

Dre, also known as Elite Feet on Instagram, said the cleats Patterson wore almost didn’t happen. 

“Patterson originally didn’t want custom cleats for the Jacksonville game," said Dre.

The Thursday right before the game, Dre received a call from the Falcons equipment manager saying Patterson had a change of heart.  

“I was originally working on completing a project for the Falcons that required 42 pairs to be customized and didn’t think I was going to have time to squeeze in Cordarrelle's pair,” said Dre.

Dre’s viewpoint changed once Patterson shared his vision for the cleats. 

“Once Patterson told me that he wanted to do something with Ahmaud Arbery I said, 'Ok we can do that,'” he said. 

The cleats were designed and completed within three days and showcased at the Florida game.

The North Carolina native first moved to Atlanta in 2015 to work in a corporate office but his “true passion” began two years prior in 2013 when he first started customizing sneakers. 

"I found my passion out of boredom and it’s so crazy," said Dre. 

This will be Dre’s third season designing cleats for the Atlanta Falcons. He has created more than 300 custom cleats for the team since then. 

In the upcoming season, Dre hopes to push boundaries and expand his business to more than just a sneaker artist.

"Anything is a canvas for me,” he said. 

RELATED: Atlanta Falcons' Cordarrelle Patterson honors Ahmaud Arbery with cleats


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