FOXBORO – I don’t think I would have spent 15 minutes speaking with Terrance Knighton about racial issues three summers ago.
But the social climate the past two summers and disconnect between how whites and blacks perceive each other’s American experience has heightened my awareness.
What don’t I know? What can I do differently as a middle-aged, white father of three young men? What do I need to tell them? Am I wrong to feel that race relations in New England – while not ideal (and what is ideal?) – are just different than the rest of the country?
It’s depressing to watch the citizens of #HashtagNation engaging in 140-character discourse which consists of either the most banal observations or devolves into a racial pissing contest with everybody coming away feeling persecuted and misunderstood.
So why not have some dialogue? That was my aim with this week’s Quick Slants, The Podcast sponsored by Papa Gino’s.
Knighton, signed by the Patriots in the offseason, has been vocal and refreshingly interesting on Twitter all summer.
I think Post Career, me talking crap about all sports on radio will be a hit? What u guys think? I say radio cause I don't wanna be censored— Terrance Knighton (@MisterRoast98) July 23, 2016
Nah our county was stupid the hundreds of years prior. https://t.co/5wnRebTgva— Terrance Knighton (@MisterRoast98) July 26, 2016
He, like new teammate Martellus Bennett, has something to say. Has considered opinions. Can be learned from. And may be willing to listen and appreciate what my viewpoint is based on what I’ve lived.
Knighton didn’t know I was going to grab him for a podcast appearance after Tuesday’s full-pad practice. But when I approached him while he was still in full pads with his helmet still perched on his head like a top hat, he agreed.
“I’m more than happy to,” he said.
I began by asking Knighton why – when silence and accessibility is an easier route in a somewhat buttoned-down and judgmental industry like the NFL – does he feel compelled to raise his hand and speak.
“I think the reason I have a voice is because of the platform I have as a role model,” he explained. “Being not only a role model to kids out in the world but I’m the oldest of four boys, three younger brothers, they look to everything I do, they read everything I say in the media. I think with a lot of things going on socially with Black Lives Matter and police brutality and trying to find a common ground with civilians and risking their lives to protect us I think I relate because of where I came from.”
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