This was one in a series of forums hosted in five different cities across the U.S. by members of the Players Coalition, the non-profit group co-founded by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin that helps NFL players to use their platform to address issues of social injustice and inequality. The local district attorney races in 2018 have been one focus, since DAs control who is charged with crimes and how the person is punished, and they can play a role in advancing criminal justice reform measures such as ending the cash bail system that discriminates against those too poor to pay their way out of jail while awaiting the adjudication of their case.
The three Patriots spent a week brainstorming questions about mass incarceration, the juvenile system, immigration and police-community relations. They encouraged the audience members to educate themselves and cast their vote—“helping communities understand how they can help themselves,” McCourty says. Afterward, as the players lingered to talk to the audience members, some asked questions about the hot-button topic of the anthem demonstrations, but McCourty says they tried to keep the focus on the issues central to the September DA primary.
“That’s what we have talked about numerous times,” McCourty says. “Making sure no matter what comes up, the Eagles’ White House visit being canceled or the new anthem policy, we are going to stay focused on what we believe in, and that’s helping our communities.”