Bears running back Cordarrelle Patterson has three kids, with a fourth on the way. His oldest – who turns eight in October – came to him on Wednesday, as news hit of a grand jury’s decision to not criminally charge any of the police officers involved in the shooting and killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency room technician and aspiring nurse.
“My kid came to me asking what was going on,” Patterson said. “First thing he said was ‘I thought Dr. Martin Luther King fixed all this?’”
A number of Bears players tweeted in the aftermath of Wednesday’s decision:
On Thursday, both Montgomery and Patterson spoke at length about Taylor and their experiences being Black men in the United States. Below are their comments, presented in full:
It sucks, the verdict. It just sucks, man. Just being able to be who I am and being scared to be who I am just because of the color of my skin. And being able to go out here every day of my life and fearing if I were to get pulled over by a cop or if anything were to happen to me, I wouldn’t know if it was my last breath I’d be taking. It sucks. It’s scary.
But we just gotta keep fighting and keep challenging those who need to be challenged so we can get it fixed and changed for the better of the future.
I want to take the time out to say we just need justice for Breonna Taylor also. I’ve seen what happened yesterday on that, man, it was crazy. Looking at that with my family and kids, it was heartbreaking. It’s hard for what her family is going through, man, I can’t say I understand because I don’t.
But just talking to my family trying to understand as much as possible as what’s going on in this world, man, I’m just sorry to her family and everybody in Louisville and what they’re going through right now. I’m with y’all, I pray for it each and every day and hopefully we get justice for it.
Is the Breonna Taylor decision challenging to explain to kids?
It’s real challenging, man. Our son right now, he understands what’s going on but he don’t understand. As we watch the news, he’s watching it too and he really can’t get it through his head what’s going on. And we try to make him understand but I don’t really want him understanding everything that’s going on at such a young age.
Kids shouldn’t have to go through the experience we’re going through right now. I try to keep my kids away as far as possible, but it’s impossible with your kids around. Just try to educate them as much as I can on it but I really don’t want them to have to go through this stuff in the world.
How safe do you feel as a Black man in America right now?
You never know how safe you are. S--t happens. It happens to everybody. It happen to us, we just don’t report it because we feel like we got this little bubble around us, we can’t be touched – but we’re not untouchable. That’s what we have to understand. It happens to everybody in this world no matter if you’re a pro athlete or not. It happens to everybody.
Athletes, we just gotta keep using our voice. I don’t use it as much as I can because I don’t like getting into talking because I can go on and on talking about it, man. It’s a hurtful thing.
It’s sad what her family had to go through. We seen they gave them money, millions of dollars – that s--t, it won’t bring her back. I don’t care anything about money, I just want my life and my family with me. I would never want to go through an experience like that. It happens every day no matter what. It happens to us more often than it’s supposed to. It’s sad but we just try to keep trying to do the right thing for our family, just trying to stay safe.
You talked about Breonna Taylor and racism in America and what your son can’t grasp about it. Can you elaborate on what it is and the concept that’s troubling to him, or that kids can’t seem to quite understand?
So my son … My girlfriend, she’s white. So my kids are mixed. But I’m fully black. My kids think they’re fully black. So they don’t see color. They’re kids. They don’t see color. They just see happiness and they see sadness.
So when my kid comes to me asking like why is this going on? First thing he said was like ‘I thought Dr. Martin Luther King fixed all this.’ I was like, how do you even know stuff like this, dude. Kids are so smart. They pick up on everything.
So what we’re trying to tell them is stuff they already know because they catch everything. They listen to everything. Whatever you say, they’re going to say. Whatever you do, they’re going to do. So it’s our job to try to educate them as much as we can. Because there is so much going on. There is so much to even talk about in this little segment here. We’d have to sit down for hours and hours and just keep talking about everything that’s going on in this world.
I just have to try to keep educating my kids man and try to keep preaching to them that it’s going to get better man. Because I do feel like it’s going to get better. Each and every day. I just look to the people who are trying to help us and knowing the people who ain’t, just stay the f--k away, because we’re trying to build something here that’s going to separate us.
Because 2020 has already been a terrible year for everybody. People losing their jobs. Everything. It’s like there is so much going on on top of this police stuff that’s going on. So we’re trying to do better in 2020 and hopefully 2021 brings us great love and peace.