Disney’s “Safety” depicts a touching story about family and football that just so happened to feature FAU.

The game action that was recreated for the film originally took place on Sept. 2, 2006, where the Clemson Tigers defeated the FAU Owls 54-6.


Photo Courtesy of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution.

Colby Guy, Editor-In-Chief

Disney’s “Safety,” directed by Reginald Hudlin, retells the story of Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves), a former Clemson football player who took care of his brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson), after his mother, Tonya (Amanda Warren), entered rehab for her drug addiction.

He then had to take on the responsibilities of looking after Fahmarr while playing college football and taking classes. He faces a lot of adversity along the way, and the film does a great job of portraying it.

The game featured in the movie was based off of the Sept. 2, 2006 matchup between the Clemson Tigers and the Florida Atlantic University Owls. That game didn’t end so well for the Owls, as they lost 54-6.

Despite the blowout loss, it was truly awesome for me as an FAU student. To see FAU featured in a film made by a big company like Disney feels great because it’s not a well known school. Seeing it in a movie that a lot of people are going to watch is huge for the university. The story attached to the movie was also pretty touching.

The movie tells the story of McElrathbey taking his brother, Fahmarr, to campus to live with him after his mother entered rehab for her drug addiction.

Throughout the film, we see McElrathbey’s struggles with balancing his responsibilities between taking care of Fahmarr and doing his duties on the football field and in the classroom.

Through Reeves’ acting, we can truly see how much Ray cared for his brother and the sacrifices he made to care for his brother.

Along the way, the community around Clemson, including teammates and coaches, helped McElrathbey and his brother. This caused some controversy with the NCAA, as college athletes are typically not allowed financial aid or special help of any kind by people affiliated with the university.

McElrathbey had to have a hearing to decide whether he could stay on the team after receiving the aid and the emotion and trials he goes through are very touching.

The movie does a great job of piecing together the good moments of Ray dominating on the field while also showing the emotion behind the touching moments, where he is fighting for his brother.

The game action featured in this film looks realistic and so do the uniforms the players wear in them, as FAU is donning their white road jersey that they wore in the 2006 season and the details are accurate.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Ray hopped on the Greyhound bus to head to Atlanta to pick up Fahmarr.

It set the mood for the movie, as he came into that moment with uncertainty. Fahmarr wasn’t clear about why he was needed back in Atlanta during their phone call, causing the scene to harbor a dark and gloomy mood.

The scene also featured a soft instrumental to go with it, as McElrathbey looked out the window with a weary look on his face, as he headed to Atlanta during the dark hours of the night.

In that moment, the film also showed that type of person McElrathbey was: he chose family over everything, dropping all of his plans and making time in his busy schedule to make sure his brother was okay.

As the movie progresses, we see more of that out of McElrathbey. He showed up late to an exam and was struggling in practice because of the sacrifices he made for his brother, and it was truly touching to see him overcome those obstacles.

I would definitely recommend watching this movie if you’re looking for something that inspires you. It had me put things into perspective and made me want to be the type of person Ray was for his family.

“Safety,” which came out on Dec. 11, 2020, is now streaming on Disney+.