- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Football star Richard Sherman spoke on the Black Lives Matter movement and race relations in America just one day after NBA legend Michael Jordan did the same.

The Seattle Seahawks cornerback spoke with The Undefeated on Tuesday, which follows Mr. Jordan’s announcement on the same website that he donated $1 million each to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Writer Domonique Foxworth asked Mr. Sherman his thoughts on the killings of black men by police officers, such as Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile just outside Minneapolis. Mr. Sherman said it was important for Americans to pray for anyone who is killed “senselessly,” whether it is a random black man or a police officer.

“It’s hard to formulate an opinion [on Black Lives Matter] and generalize because they have several different messages. Some of them are peaceful and understandable and some of them are very radical and hard to support,” the athlete said. “Any time you see people who are saying, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and then saying it’s time to kill police, then it is difficult to stand behind that logic. They are generalizing police just like they are asking police not to generalize us. It is very hypocritical. So, in that respect, I find it difficult to fully support that movement.”

“I stand by what I said that All Lives Matter and that we are human beings. And speaking to police, I want African-Americans and everybody else treated decently. I want them treated like human beings. And I also want the police treated like human beings. I don’t want police officers just getting knocked off in the street who haven’t done anything wrong.”

The Super Bowl champion was then asked if would be open to joining a coalition of politically active basketball players if he were approached.

“It would have to be a united message. It would have to be something that I could stand behind. I won’t stand behind a message I didn’t believe,” Mr. Sherman said. “I think we [could] target the inner city and the black community and a lot of the places that have high gang violence and beg for them to stop the senseless violence within our own community. Because once we stop that, once we unite as a people, once we come together and stop looking at each other as enemies, then we can move forward in a very powerful way. And combat issues in a different way than it has ever been done before. But until we do that, we are fighting on two fronts. … 

“My parents did a great job, same inner city, Watts, South Central, [California]. They worked hard, didn’t make the most money, but took care of the kids in the neighborhood, took care of us, made ends meet, kept us out of gangs and all the nonsense. But I think there is also a mentality that we want to blame someone else for black fathers not being there for all these people having all these kids and nobody raising them. We want to say that’s systematic, but when do we stop saying it’s systematic and move forward and make a difference?”

The athlete ended his discussion by saying that he is optimistic the country will eventually come together. He said that since America was able to rid itself of slavery, then it will overcome this period of racial tension as well.

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