Wide receiver Anquan Boldin left football in 2017, but he hasn’t been far away from the game.
Along with Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, the wideout co-founded the Players Coalition to promote racial justice and push back against systemic inequality. Their nonprofit has tapped a committee of more than a half dozen current and former NFL players for a variety of social justice initiatives, including the launch earlier this year of the league’s social justice platform Inspire Change.
Boldin’s work brings him to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum today for a town hall on policing. The former wide receiver–who also happens to be in town to officially retire as a Raven–will be joined by current Ravens running back Mark Ingram, former Ravens running back Matt Lawrence, Baltimore native and former NFL tight end Joel Gamble, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, State Sen. Jill P. Carter and others.
In a statement, Boldin, a Baltimore Raven from 2010-2012, said the last few years, particularly the revelations of the Gun Trace Task Force that robbed people and planted evidence to cover-up their bogus arrests and seizures, highlighted the “deeply troubling practices” of the Baltimore Police Department.
“There is a tremendous need to rebuild the relationship between the community in Baltimore, the police that serve them and the justice system that governs them,” he said. “We’re hosting this town hall to bring together the community to discuss how we can improve policing and build a fairer justice system in Baltimore.”
For Boldin, the issue of police killings of African-American men is personal. In 2015, when Boldin was on the San Francisco 49ers, he found out after a game on Oct. 18, 2015 that his first cousin, Corey Jones, was shot and killed by police in Florida.
Jones was reportedly on the phone with roadside assistance at 3:15 a.m. after having problems with his SUV. He was approached by Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, who was in an unmarked man and dressed in plainclothes.
Within moments, Raja opened fire, striking Jones three times; police said shortly after the incident that Jones had confronted Raja and allegedly pointed a gun at him. A legally purchased handgun was found, but a recording of Jones’ phone call with roadside assistance later showed a calmer interaction.
“I couldn’t understand for the life of me how somebody can break down on the side of the road and that be a death sentence for them,” Boldin told NBCBLK earlier this year.
The town hall runs from 6-8 p.m. and Boldin, Ingram, Gamble and Lawrence will serve as moderators.
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