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Anquan Boldin commends Tom Brady, other white athletes for support of Ahmaud Arbery letter
1:35 PM ET
  • ESPN News Services

Former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin, co-founder of the Players Coalition, says it’s significant that prominent white athletes such as Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady are choosing to publicly support the black community on matters of social injustice.

Boldin’s comments came several days after the Players Coalition sent a letter, which featured more than 60 signatures from prominent athletes, to the Department of Justice calling for an immediate investigation into the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Georgia man who was gunned down while jogging near his home.

During an appearance on ESPN’s First Take, Boldin applauded Brady and others for choosing to lend their support.

“I think it’s very significant, especially having Tom be a guy who hasn’t been involved in politics at all,” Boldin said. “He’s kind of stayed away from it. But it just goes to show that people are tired of [the injustice] happening. We’ve seen it over and over again, and far too long, we’ve allowed it to go on and not speak out about it. So to have someone like Tom Brady sign the letter, it was very significant.”

David Andrews, Julian Edelman and Ryan Izzo of the New England Patriots, NFL quarterback Josh McCown, NBA coach Steve Kerr and former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy were among the white athletes and coaches who signed the letter.

Boldin also said that white athletes’ apprehension to speak out at times does not mean they aren’t supportive of the steps being taken to help the black community.

“It’s not that they don’t care what’s happening to African Americans in this country. A lot of them are afraid to say the wrong things,” Boldin said. “So that’s why a lot of guys stay away from being in front of the cameras and speaking out about certain subjects. And honestly, they don’t go through what we go through, but to say that they don’t support us, that would be far from the truth.

“They want to make sure that the message that they speak out is right. Like I said, from the guys that I’ve talked to, they want to make sure that what they say doesn’t hurt the cause, as opposed to helping it.”

The coalition was formed in 2017 to raise awareness about police and community relations, criminal justice reform, and education and economic advancement. It developed out of the dispute between NFL team owners and the players who were kneeling during the national anthem to bring a focus to social injustice.

Also Monday, the coalition sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging the organization to provide internet service for those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Families need internet access now more than ever. With students adjusting to distance learning, the educational divide is heightened for students in low-income communities who cannot reach their teacher and educational materials because they can’t get online,” Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day said. “The FCC needs to ensure that everyone who needs internet can access it during COVID-19 to help students and families stay connected.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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