Anquan Boldin sounds like so many people in the United States right now — angry, worried, scared.
But the former NFL wide receiver and one of the founders of The Players Coalition also hopes the national conversation following the death of George Floyd leads to something substantive.
“The thing I’m afraid of is allowing this moment to pass without bringing about meaningful change,” Boldin said, via Mike Jones of USA Today. “I’m afraid that if we don’t come together collectively, the messaging will get hijacked, and we will miss this moment in creating real change to make sure that we’re not back here again. So, for us, everybody is angry. Everyone is outraged and rightfully so. But you have to sit back and ask yourselves –number one, ‘What is it that I want?’ and number two, ‘How do I get what I want?’
“We all have to understand that there is a common enemy. There is a common system. There are common players who are allowing this to continue in our country. And if we’re going to make any progress, we’ve got to shine the light on there.”
And while it’s easy for this time to become a political matter — and certainly our televisions stay full of national political figures — Boldin maintains interest in down-ballot issues.
Specifically, watching the delay before third-degree murder charges for the police officer who knelt on the neck of Floyd (and the lack of charges for the other three officers there) have Boldin emphasizing the need for more attention to be paid for local and state attorney elections.
“I’m in this to expose all the things in the system that allow these things to go on,” Boldin said. “We have to educate ourselves, and we also have to understand that we are the ones that elect DAs and state attorneys.
“We put them in those seats, so it’s on us to understand . . . what policies they stand for. We have to be knowledgeable enough to vote these people up out of those seats. Because I guarantee you if the right person was elected DA in that region, that (Ahmaud Arbery) case would not have sat there for two-and-a-half, three months. We would have had somebody who did the right thing the first time around — not someone who was trying to protect the offenders.”
Those offices don’t attract the same kind of attention, but to Boldin, the need is clear.
“I think the disheartening part about it is,” Boldin said, “if we gave this scenario to any 7-, 8-, 9-year-old and told them, ‘This is what happened,’ and we asked them what should happen to this guy that killed this man — from every last one of them, we would get the exact same answer: That this guy should go to jail and he should serve time.
“How is it that adults cannot get this right? How is it that you have different opinions about the right way to take care of this? How is it that this guy is not immediately charged and prosecuted for murdering somebody? And not only them, but those that stood around and allowed him to do this. What kind of world are we living in? What kind of country are we living in that everybody isn’t seeing this as — it is what it is, it’s a murder. . . . We’ve got people worried about the looting and the rioting when all that could be prevented if you guys had done the right thing.”
That’s what keeps Boldin motivated, and from letting despair take over.