After players in numerous professional sports leagues across North America boycotted games this week following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the issue of racial injustice has hit close to home for a Canadian Football League star.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence calls the situation in America “bulls—.”
“It’s tough to deal with, especially being in the States,” said Lawrence, who is at home in Pennsylvania after the coronavirus pandemic forced the CFL to cancel the 2020 season.
“Every cop is not a bad cop,” he said. “But they do have a lot of bad apples.”
Following George Floyd‘s death in May at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Lawrence said he spent some time searching for a solution to help solve systemic racism.
“I talked to the captain of police in my neighbourhood and we were just talking about things to do to help,” said the eight-year CFL veteran.
Growing up in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, which Lawrence admits is a rough area, he says he is focusing on helping youth in the community.
“You wanna show these kids that there’s a chance,” he said, adding that, “they can get out of the situation that they’re in.”
If the CFL season was being played right now, Lawrence says he thinks the players would have joined the boycotts that rippled across numerous leagues.
“That’s a tough question,” Lawrence replied. “I think so. It’s a movement for the world.”
The defensive leader of the Ticats’ says he’s confident the team’s management would have been supportive of a player boycott.
“To do anything that makes sense you have to all be together and all be on the same page, and I feel like with Scott Mitchell (CEO), Bob Young (owner), Coach Orlondo (head coach Orlondo Steinauer), I think those guys are impactful leaders and they do what’s right,” said Lawrence.
He says he was “sad” when the 2020 season was cancelled, but Lawrence says he understands that there are certain things that you can’t control in life, calling it a “tough pill to swallow.”