When he took the stage on the first day of the 2023 NFL Draft, having just been selected 17th overall by the New England Patriots, cornerback Christian Gonzalez wore a shiny white suit. The outfit had a deeper meaning hidden underneath, however.
Before receiving the Patriots jersey with the obligatory No. 1 on it, Gonzalez briefly unbuttoned his jacket to show off the colors yellow, blue and red.
There was a <1% chance that Christian Gonzalez was going to be available at pick 17. @chrisgonzo28— ESPN (@espn) April 28, 2023
New England may have gotten a steal in the #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/feXbbJJJ1j
Why did he show off the inside of his suit on draft night? Speaking to NFL Network before even leaving the stage, Gonzalez explained that it was a tribute to Colombia — the inside of his suit was covered with the country’s flag.
“It’s Colombian, it just means everything,” he said. “Putting it on for everybody back in Colombia. I love that they are able to look up to me.”
Christian Gonzalez finally shows @melissastark what is on the inside of his jacket #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/lICbRAtzXO— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 28, 2023
While Gonzalez himself was born in Carrollton, TX, his father, Hector, grew up in Colombia. He came to the United States when he was 18, as his son explained on a Zoom call with New England media, but the connection to the South American country are still strong.
“My dad was born in Colombia and he moved to America to play basketball when he was 18,” Gonzalez said. “It means the world to me, to be able to put on for South America. They don’t really play football over there, so having little kids know they can do what they want if the set their mind to it, I just want them to know they have someone they can look up to.”