Ernest Wilford hasn’t played for the Jaguars since 2010, but he joined members of the team for last Friday’s march from their stadium to the sheriff’s department to protest inequality and police brutality.
Wilford likely knew the route well because he has been an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for the last six years. Wilford told WJXT that he thought it was important for someone in that job to show that he supported the push for reforms.
“I was a Jaguar for seven years in the league and I’ve been a police officer for six years, but for 41 years I’ve been a black man,” Wilford said, via USAToday.com. “It’s very important I use my platform to let everyone know that black lives do matter. The murder of George Floyd was unbearable and it hurts. I want to make sure that I show my solidarity and let everyone know that I hear the voices and I want change. In order for change to be made, I have to show my support, so I will be that voice.”
Wilford played wide receiver for the Jaguars from 2004-2007 and 2009-2010 and said when he became a police officer that he looked forward to serving the same people who cheered him while he was in a different uniform.