One of the reasons the police shooting of Jacob Blake has created so many raw emotions for players, is that so many of them can draw on personal experience to know how close they’ve been to similar situations.
For Giants running back Saquon Barkley, it brought back memories of a time police “mishandled” his father when Barkley was at Penn State.
“It’s just sad,” Barkley said, via Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. “You look at it like what if that was my brother? I know my father went through a similar situation when I was in college, and that little situation right there, you could lose someone that you really care about. When you look at it, you can’t just look at it as it’s Jacob Blake. I know he didn’t pass away, but you’ve got to be like, ’What if I was in that situation? What if it was your brother? What if it was your cousin? What if it was Shep [Sterling Shepard]? Golden [Tate]? All those guys. So that’s kind of how I look at it.
“And how it makes me think, how it makes me feel? I understand that God has put me in a position to be able to have a platform and to be able to use my voice. I’ve been big on knowing my history, especially with the athletes and the Bill Russells of the world and the Colin Kaepernicks of the world, how they were able to handle their situation and use their voice. And it creates a conversation that you have to have with yourself: what can you do? What can you do? And that’s just the start. You have to spark those conversations and then take action, find ways you can do that.”
Barkley recalled the flood of emotions that came back when he recalled the incident with his father.
“I remember that phone call I got from my mom, that my dad was basically mishandled and mistreated,” he said. “At the time they thought my dad was wrong. But we went through it and found out my dad was right, which I obviously knew. But in the moment when I got that phone call, I’ll never forget: I was walking to the Lasch building back at Penn State and my mom called me and my mom was really worried and concerned. My dad had a heart condition and got like tased in the heart and stuff like that.
“But I remember how I felt in that moment, and it hurt me. It hurt me. That’s why every single day I try to go out there and work and push myself and, . . . try to be an inspiration for others.”
Barkley’s quickly become one of the Giants’ leaders, and was one of the strongest voices in their team meeting about how to use their platform. He said he’s not sure what their next steps will be, but he said they’d have a plan “soon.”
They want to speak out and help create a change. In many cases, that’s because they know all too well what can happen.
Jacob Blake situation brings back memories for Saquon Barkley originally appeared on Pro Football Talk