EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Lorenzo Carter was dominant on the field in Friday’s New York Giants Blue-White Scrimmage. That isn’t, though, what he wanted — really needed — to talk about afterwards.
Carter virtually ignored a videoconference-opening football question to launch into s long, passionate, heartfelt discussion of his feelings on social injustice.
“The state of this country, I’m not comfortable. Nobody is comfortable. The people that I know in my hometown, the people that I’ve talked to, my teammates, we’re not comfortable and this isn’t okay, whatever is going on,” Carter said. “I just feel like this country is divided. We have to use our platforms, we have to use our voices as Black men, as athletes, as influencers. Anybody that has a voice needs to use it. Not just Black, not white, not just Latino, everybody, we have to come together. Until we do that, I can’t really honestly think about football.”
Carter expressed frustration with what he sees as a lack of progress toward racial equality in this country.
“This is the 57th anniversary of the march on Washington. The 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. I can’t help but feel like everything Martin Luther Jr. said in that speech is still relevant today. We’re still dealing with the same things and that’s not right. We should be further ahead as a country, we should be further ahead as a people,” he said.
“I haven’t thought about football too much today. I haven’t thought about anything dealing with our game plan, anything dealing with this season, anything dealing with the game of football. It’s literally just been trying to figure out what we can do as a team. What I can do personally and what we can do as a country to end this. I’m tired of it, enough is enough. I don’t want to be in the same situation my grandfather was in, my great-grandfather was in and everything else.”
Carter said he “came to tears” this summer watching things unfold after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
“ ... I see the National Guard and people on horses pushing back people, throwing tear bombs. Things that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. Things that I thought were just in the history books. Things that I saw in history books, things that I saw in videos. I actually sat there and watched it in real life,” Carter said.
While other teams across the sports landscape chose in recent days to cancel games and practices, the Giants practiced Wednesday and Thursday, then went ahead with their scrimmage.
Before the game, Giants players stood in two rows, linked arm in arm, as a statement was read, in part by co-owner John Mara, on social injustice.
Carter was asked if he would have rather not played Friday night.
“I can’t say that. It was a chance for us to get better. It was an opportunity for us to get better as a team. We agreed that we were going to make our statement before the game and that’s what we did,” he said. “We came together, we talked about it and that’s the decision we made as a team. Everything we do this year is going to be as a team. There’s no individual in this, that’s the message. There’s no individual, we are doing everything as a team, everything collectively, and that’s it.”
What, in the end, does Carter want?
“I just want equality. I want everybody to realize that all life is sacred, all life is valued. I just don’t want to see the injustices done. I want justice, it doesn’t matter what race, what color, what ethnicity, what religion,” he said. “I just want America to stand on the values that were written out in the Constitution. All men are created equal, all men have inalienable rights for life, liberty and justice. I just want that check to be cashed. Like Martin Luther King said, I don’t believe they should default on that check. I don’t believe America is bankrupt from the fact that we all have the right to life, liberty and justice.”
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