When Christian Gonzalez walked across the stage to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday night, he knew exactly who was watching.
His name had just been called as the No. 17 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, and before receiving a New England Patriots jersey with his name on it, he opened the jacket of his custom white suit, revealing the horizontal tricolor of yellow, blue, and red.
"It means everything," the cornerback said of his tribute to Colombia when asked by ESPN's Melissa Stark.
"I put it on for everyone back in Colombia. I love that they're able to look up to me."
That representation is significant.
Though the NFL is popular with the Hispanic and Latino demographic, players of those ethnicities come few and far between across the league.
According to a report from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, just 0.4 percent of NFL players during the 2022 season identified as Hispanic or Latino.
Realizing the platform he'd have, Gonzalez says he put a lot of thought into his wardrobe for the big night.
"I wore it because I'm Colombian," Gonzalez said in his first press conference with Patriots media Thursday night.
"My dad was born in Colombia. He moved to America to play basketball when he was 18. It took some planning. It means the world to me to just be able to put it on for South America."
Gonzalez' father, Hector, played basketball at the University of Texas at El Paso before returning to Colombia to play semiprofessionally. Two of the Oregon product's sisters, Melissa and Samantha, were NCAA All-Americans who represent Colombia in international track and field events.
"They don't really play football over there, so having little kids know they can do what they want if they set their mind to it," Gonzalez said. "I just want to be able to let them know they have somebody to look up to."