Falcons rookie Qadree Ollison expresses forgiveness to his brother’s killer

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The Falcons chose former Pitt running back Qadree Ollison in the fifth round of the draft, and Ollison’s entry into the NFL has placed renewed attention on his personal story.

In 2017, on a Saturday when Ollison was playing in a game at Pitt, his brother Lerowne Harris was shot and killed. The killer turned out to be Denzel Lewis, a former classmate whom Ollison had considered a friend when they were children.

Lewis pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, and at the sentencing, Ollison did a surprising thing: He read a statement telling Lewis he forgave him.

“I have this choice to hate you or not,” Ollison said at the sentencing. “I choose not to. I don’t hate you, Denzel. I hate what you did, most certainly. But I still think your life is just as precious as the next person’s. No life means more than another’s. None of us are perfect.”

Ollison told ESPN that he still hopes Lewis can make something of his life.

“I really would tell him to try and get rid of whatever demons he has inside of him, try to find God,” Qadree said. “If you don’t want to believe in God, you want to believe in something. Try to find whatever it is that would bring peace to him and help him. It’s a lot deeper. If the point of prison is to rehabilitate, then let it do that. Come out 20, 25 years from now and be a different person if you get another chance.”

Although we don’t know yet what kind of NFL player Ollison will turn out to be, that message says a lot about what kind of man the Falcons drafted.

11 responses to “Falcons rookie Qadree Ollison expresses forgiveness to his brother’s killer

  1. He is wise beyond his years. Hatred and the desire for revenge simply eats you up from the inside. People who dwell on them become “ugly” on the inside and end up hating the entire world and everyone in it, including themselves.

  2. 25 years in prison for killing someone seems like a slap on the wrist to me. And yeah Qadree is a better man than me. Good for you, young man.

  3. No one would blame Qadree if he didn’t forgive his brother’s murderer. However, if this action is how he deals with grief and keeps spirit full of love instead of hate, then good for him. Hate can consume and make you something you don’t want to be. The world needs more people like Qadree Ollison.

  4. not me Bro…never . But i have huge admiration for you because you are better than me! Keep it going my man and you are gonna do great things

  5. Bravo Qadree, you are a fine young man,soon to be an NFL star, for years to come.

  6. Although we don’t know yet what kind of NFL player Ollison will turn out to be, that message says a lot about what kind of man the Falcons drafted.

    It certainly does. Here’s hoping he makes it and has a HoF career. The world needs as many guys like this as it can get.

    However, I don’t think I’d be so forgiving. Sure, everyone deserves a second chance and nobody’s perfect but when you take someone else’s life I have a hard time getting past that.

  7. Having forgiveness in one’s heart instead of hatred is a rare and highly admirable occurance. The world would clearly be a better place if we could all live in such a way. This young man is wise beyond his years and already a role model. I thank him for showing the rest of us that it can be done.

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