The Safety true story took place in 2006, when Ramon "Ray Ray" McElrathbey was a 19-year-old redshirt freshman (academic sophomore) at Clemson University. At the time, he was a special teams player on scholarship, and like in the Disney+ movie, he ended up taking temporary custody of his 11-year-old brother, Fahmarr McElrathbey. In real life, Ray Ray had six other siblings. He considered having his 16-year-old brother, Cornelius, stay with him as well, but he knew that taking care of one of his siblings would be an enormous challenge (The New York Times).
Yes. In the summer of 2006, Ray Ray's younger brother, Fahmarr, was living in Las Vegas with their mother, who was on the verge of coming back to Atlanta and entering rehab for drug addiction. Their father had been dealing with gambling problems and was not in the picture. Fahmarr came to visit Ray Ray at Clemson and asked if he could stay. If Ray Ray said no, he knew that his younger brother would end up in foster care, so he decided to let him stay. "I didn't want Fahmarr going through any of that any more," Ray Ray told The New York Times. "And when he came to visit me over the summer, he didn't want to go back home. And I didn't want him to." Ray Ray became Fahmarr's legal guardian prior to the start of the season. -The Clemson Insider
McElrathbey told the Daily News that there were days he thought would never end. "When things got overwhelming, I would question why I decided to do this, because it was a choice I made, as opposed to something I had to do. But I prayed about it, and there were plenty of times I cried in the dark and I hoped for days like this one, where I have the opportunity to talk about something as great as a Disney movie made in my likeness."
No. The real Ray Ray McElrathbey says that there wasn't a steady love interest in real life. A fact check reveals that the movie character Kaycee (Corinne Foxx) is fictional. This is one of the biggest differences between the movie and the Safety true story. Also, while Kaycee, a student reporter, is the one who breaks the story in the movie, it was actually sportswriter Larry Williams of Charleston's Post and Courier newspaper who wrote the story that spread nationally.
Yes. Once Ray Ray McElrathbey's secret was out in the open and everyone knew that his little brother was staying with him on campus, life became easier. However, things got hard again when he learned that as an NCAA athlete, he wasn't allowed to accept assistance from the community. He says that the NCAA initially suspended him for accepting help (People).
Eventually, the NCAA granted Ray Ray an exception that permitted him to accept a certain amount of help from the community and the Clemson football program. The university set up a trust fund for Ray Ray's younger brother, Fahmarr, which helped with basic necessities like food, clothing and medical care. It also helped to pay for child care when Ray Ray was traveling with the team. Various members of the community, including the coaches' wives, offered to drive Fahmarr to and from a local school, help with homework, and assist with extracurricular activities. -The Clemson Insider
No, at least not directly. We found no evidence of a third-string kicker named Daniel Morelli playing for the Clemson Tigers. Hunter Sansone's character is mostly fictional. According to the real Ray Ray McElrathbey, Daniel is an amalgamation of the players who helped him. "Oh, well no," he told Esquire when asked if Daniel is real, "but the people were composites of individuals. Now, while I didn't have an Italian roommate, my roommate spoke to the character that that gentleman was."
After Ray Ray McElrathbey graduated from South Carolina's Clemson University in 2008, he spent the next year-and-a-half taking graduate courses at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in pursuit of a degree in communications. He participated in his last college football game in 2010, playing for Mars Hill College in the mountains of North Carolina outside of Asheville.
Ray Ray then moved to Los Angeles where he worked mainly in public service. He worked for a homeless outreach program and on a number of political campaigns, phone banking and going door-to-door. He has also been employed as a security guard at nightclubs and runs his own business as a personal trainer. He has since moved back to Atlanta, has a son, and hopes to one day work for Clemson University.
As for his younger brother, Fahmarr McElrathbey, he was employed by a packaging and shipping company in Los Angeles but has recently moved back to Clemson, South Carolina. 25 years old at the time of the release of Disney's Safety movie, Fahmarr also hopes to find a job at the university. -The Greenville News
Yes. He has a cameo as a player on the football team named Raheem. The character is not based on a real person but was instead named after McElrathbey's father. -Daily News
Further explore the true story behind Safety by watching Oprah interview Ray Ray McElrathbey and his brother Fahmarr. Also, view the Disney+ movie's trailer.