Packers guard Billy Turner grew up outside Minneapolis, and he’s been there since January.
And while he’s saddened and angry about the killing of George Floyd near his own home, he’s unable to register shock.
Turner told Matt Schneidman of TheAthletic.com he simply can’t ignore the series of events that began long before Floyd’s death last week while being detained by Minneapolis Police. One officer of the four has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“Honestly, my emotions, and I hate to say this, but I understand what demographic I operate in in this country,” Turner said. “I understand that I’m a 28-year-old African American living in a white man’s country, a white man’s world and I understand that by any of the numbers, any of the cultures, I get killed at the highest rate. I understand that. And it’s a shame that I have to sit here and say that I’m not surprised another black man has been murdered at the hands of the police. Does it hit closer to home for me because it happened just miles away? One hundred percent it does. But I absolutely hate to say that I’m numb to it. And I hate it. I hate it. I don’t hate anything, and I do hate that.
“There’s a lot of turmoil, there’s a lot of chaos that’s been going on in our country the last few days, but that chaos and that turmoil, that’s built up. That’s built up from many years. That’s not something that has just happened because of this George Floyd murder. That is built up, and it was bound to happen. It’s no different than Baltimore a couple of years ago. I think a lot of celebrities, a lot of entertainers, people with a good platform to help issues have said a lot of great things. The one that made the most sense to me is what Will Smith said and I don’t have it memorized word for word, but the idea behind what he said was racism has always been in existence. Racism has not gone anywhere from the early 1900s to the 1960s to now in 2020. It hasn’t. The only different thing is the technology and the media that covers everything on this planet and how they cover it. Now, if this is 1960 and something happens down south, it might take a little bit for you to figure it out up north. That might not reach everyone. Although it did, it just took a little longer.
“Now, we knew the same day that this happened. Being in the city that I was born and raised, yeah, I knew when it happened, you know? It’s difficult and it’s heartbreaking and my heart and my prayers go out to his family and I know a lot of people are saying that and I believe in peace and I love to promote positivity, but there’s a lot more that’s needed right now other than just hopes and prayers and well-wishes. There’s a lot more that’s needed.”
Turner said he appreciated the forum the Packers created to talk about the issues, and the support of his teammates and coach Matt LaFleur. But he also knows the racism and police violence are ingrained issues.
“Does this make a difference and make the change? I have no idea,” Turner said. “I can’t say yes, I can’t say no. All I can say is I hope, and I’m gonna do everything in my power as a man to help it make a change. But as time has shown us, as history has shown us, it takes more than just one person. It takes more than just one person, it takes more than just one state and one community. It takes the entire country and the entire world.”