Prior to taking questions from reporters at Monday’s media conference call, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner spoke passionately for seven straight minutes about issues that are more important than football.
“Like many in the community, the Black community, [I’m] hurt, sad, in pain, that we had to watch another video of a Black man being murdered,” he said.
“I support the protesters. I understand the message, I understand why, what’s going on, what’s happening,” said Wagner, who confirmed he was at the protest in downtown Seattle on Saturday, which began peaceful but ended in violence.
“It was very peaceful until some white people started burning up cop cars. Report the peaceful side of the protest as well. Report the people that are doing good. Because there’s a lot of people that’s doing good out there. There’s a lot of people that want to see the world change.
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“Everything was peaceful until there was a white person that threw something at the cops and they started fighting. They started tear-gassing everybody. And then I watched a group of white individuals destroy a cop car and set it on fire. And I watched Black people try to stop them from doing that… I got to the point where I felt like it was unsafe for me to be there, so I left.”
Wagner pleaded with the media on the call to cover the issue fairly.
“You guys play a part in the narrative,” he said, acknowledging the rioting and looting that took place, “but we’re not talking enough about what started that.
“We’re tired of seeing Black people getting killed.”
The 29-year-old spoke calmly, but passionately, about the need for education and leadership.
“I’m hurting and pissed off like everybody else. I’m tired like everybody else. I want to see something different. But it’s going to take some leadership. We don’t have that leadership right now. We have somebody in office that’s calling Black protesters ‘thugs’ and white protesters ‘good people.’
“And that’s not okay.”