Friday, March 31, 2017

Yet another football activist


I always liked Anquan Boldin when he was a 49er (2013-2015). On a team with too many mediocrities, he was a standout who gave his all.

I like him even better for this:

“It’s amazing, I think, to see how many people will call us ‘athletes’ and will tell us we need to be in the communities, and we need to serve in the different communities that we play in or live in,” Boldin said, walking the tunnels beneath Capitol Hill, hustling from House to Senate side Thursday afternoon. “But as soon as you take a political stand, they tell you, ‘Stick to football.’ You can’t have it both ways. If you’re expecting me to be a role model for younger kids or for society in general, how is it wrong for me to speak out when I do see injustices?”

Boldin has been telling his story to anyone in Congress who will listen.

In the fall of 2015, Corey Jones, Boldin’s 31-year-old cousin, was driving home late from a gig with his band. The guy played drums, had for years. Around 2 a.m., his car broke down at the side of an exit ramp on I-95 in West Palm Beach, Fla. While Jones was waiting for help, a white cargo van pulled up. It wasn’t a police car. The man who stepped out was wearing blue jeans, sneakers, a tan T-shirt and a baseball hat. He wasn’t wearing a police uniform.

“Moments later,” Boldin said, “Corey was dead.”

In the nearly 18 months since Jones’s death, Boldin has asked for answers, the whys and hows that any relative — any citizen, really — would wonder about when an innocent man meets an off-duty police officer in darkness, when six shots are fired from one gun, when three bullets find the body, when one of those lodged from behind as the victim ran away.

Unlike so many cases of this nature, the shooter will stand trial in October for manslaughter and attempted first degree murder with a firearm.

But Boldin has become an activist. He intends to continue telling anyone who will listen what goes down between Black communities and police departments after he leaves football. That might be tougher than getting hit while catching passes.

1 comment:

Hattie said...

Yes, he's a great guy. Richard Sherman, too.

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