Shut up and play. This is the message that the NFL's apparent blackballing of Colin Kaepernick is sending to athletes who have joined him in protesting police brutality. But players from across the league are taking a stand, or a knee, during the national anthem as a show of solidarity. However, Buffalo's Anquan Boldin decided to step away from the game altogether.
After just signing a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Bills, Boldin concluded that his voice doesn't have a price. He decided it's up to him to take his activism to another level on his terms.
"There's not enough money in this world for me to continue to allow the things that are going on to continue to spread," the father of two said.
Boldin's activism is long-running. Since 2015, Boldin has been fighting to reform the criminal justice system. His cousin was killed in Florida by a plain-clothes police officer, so he knows police brutality on a very personal level. The winner of the NFL's 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award also founded The Q81 Foundation to support underprivileged children. He will continue these efforts into retirement.
"For me, it's always been my life's mission to help people in a number of different ways...," Boldin told NFL Access. "But for the last couple of years I've been advocating for criminal justice reform. I've been trying to improve police-community relations across the board. I think where we are as a country now, it breaks my heart to see how divided we are and I don't think it should be that way."
Boldin also believes that team owners should be more supportive of their players.
"You have your players crying out for help," Boldin said. "That's the reason why guys are taking knees during the anthem. Just because we're professional athletes doesn't mean we're exempt from the things that go on in society. If I'm an owner and I see one of my family members--players--hurting, I'd do whatever I can to make sure that my family is OK."
We need more like Anquan Boldin. Salute!