Richard Sherman, a Super Bowl winning cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, would not answer questions about football during a weekly press conference. Instead, he chose to use the moment to address the ongoing issue of violence and police-involved shootings.
Sherman, who has been outspoken on social issues, said many are missing the point about why some NFL players are engaging in acts of protest.
“I think you have players that are trying to take a stand and trying to be aware of social issues and try to make a stand and increase people’s awareness and put a spotlight on it, and they’re being ignored. Whether they’re taking a knee or whether they’re locking arms, they’re trying to bring people together and unite them for a cause,” he said.
“I think the last couple days a couple more guys have gotten shot and killed in the middle of the street. More videos have come out of guys getting killed, and I think people are still missing the point,” Sherman added.
Sherman and his teammates have chosen to stand and lock arms during the national anthem at NFL games in a show of unity.
“The reason these guys are kneeling, the reason we’re locking arms is to bring people together to make people aware that this is not right. It’s not right for people to get killed in the street,” Sherman said.
Sherman questioned what black people are supposed to tell their kids about complying with police when unarmed black people can still get killed during those encounters.
“When you tell a kid, ‘When you’re dealing with police, put your hands up and comply with everything,’ and there’s still as chance of them getting shot and no repercussions for anyone, that’s an unfortunate time to be living,” he said.
Sherman said it’s “an unfortunate place to be in.”
The Seahawks are scheduled to play the San Francisco 49ers whose backup quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, has either sat or taken a knee during the national anthem since August. Kaepernick is protesting to draw attention to racial injustice and police brutality in America.
Sherman walked out of the press conference after making his statement.