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Dallas Cowboys pay tribute to Allen mall shooting victims with custom T-shirts

Head coach Mike McCarthy, an Allen resident, also donated to a charitable fund that supports those directly impacted by the tragedy.

Cowboys players did not wear jerseys at their final spring practice.

Mike McCarthy arranged a meaningful alternative.

The coach supplied customized “Allen Str8ng” T-shirts for every player and coach on staff, a gesture honoring the eight people killed in a May 6 mass shooting at Allen Premium Outlets. McCarthy, an Allen resident, also donated Thursday to a charitable fund that supports those directly impacted by the tragedy, a team official said.

The donation amount was not disclosed.

Home Team Prints, a custom apparel company in McKinney, provided the Cowboys with the shirt design. Co-owner Kevin Easley said that, as of Thursday afternoon, his store has sold 872 “Allen Str8ng” shirts to raise $13,080. Each short-sleeve shirt retails at $15, and the full amount goes to the Support for Allen fund, which the Communities Foundation of Texas oversees.

The store absorbs about a $4 loss in material per shirt.

“We knew that going in,” Easley said. “This was something that was important to us. Thankfully, our business is at a status right now where we can do that. …It doesn’t bother us at all.”

The Cowboys contacted Allen police, who connected them to Easley a couple of weeks ago. Discussions began about the club placing an order for 200 T-shirts, but given all the customization involved — white shirts for offensive players, blue for defensive, and numbers and nameplates on each shirt’s back — the team opted to print the shirts through its own supply channel.

Easley sent the Cowboys a vector file containing the “Allen Str8ng” logo.

Then, he waited, unsure if it would be used.

On Thursday morning, Easley said a woman identifying as McCarthy’s assistant called to confirm the Communities Foundation of Texas fund. Hours later, after practice, Easley was pleased to see photos on social media of the Cowboys wearing the Home Team Prints design.

“The ultimate goal was to raise funds to help those who need it,” Easley said. “I’m confident it was a pretty sizable donation. A donation of any kind is mission accomplished in my mind.”

The shirts brought weight to an otherwise light practice.

Aside from quarterbacks and defenders wearing an in-helmet speaker, no players wore helmets inside Ford Center at The Star. Practice lasted less than an hour. Veteran players are now free, able to disengage for several weeks before reporting to training camp in Oxnard, Calif. Rookies are scheduled to return next week for further instruction.

The shooting occurred about 10 miles from the Cowboys’ facility.

“These things just have a whole new meaning once you’re a parent,” said quarterbacks coach Scott Tolzien, who has three children. “I remember when Columbine happened (in 1999), and I just couldn’t believe it. Now, these things happen more commonly. You really, really, really, really feel for the families that have to go through that.”

“Allen Str8ng” shirts are available for purchase at the Home Team Prints website.

Source: dallasnews