The Associated Press surveyed 56 of the 59 black players at last weekend’s Pro Bowl game as part of its look at how African American athletes have used their sports platforms to effect social and political change for decades. Every single player said that they or someone they knew have experienced racial profiling. One player saw a police officer hold a gun to his father’s head. Another’s wife was pulled over while driving a Bentley. Players of color have been at the center of the NFL anthem protests that were started in August 2016 by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick and others attempted to highlight the killings of unarmed black men by police. Many players are now focusing on ways of addressing injustice off the field.
“You can probably ask any black man out here and the answer is yes,” said Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson, according to The Guardian. “It’s not like this is just starting today or a new thing. It’s gone on for a long time. I think African American men have been [victims] of racial profiling for a long time, by either the things they wear or just by the color of their skin.”