Football has been a priority for Anquan Boldin. But after 14 seasons, more than 200 games and nearly 14,000 yards receiving, the veteran wide receiver now feels a higher calling, which is why he left the Buffalo Bills on Sunday after only two weeks with the team and plans to retire.
“Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work, and at this time, I feel drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority,” Boldin said in a statement to. “My life’s purpose is bigger than football.”
Boldin, 36, has spent parts of the past two years on Capitol Hill fighting for criminal justice reform. His cousin, Corey Jones, was shot to death by a plainclothes police officer in 2015 after Jones’ van broke down on the side of a South Florida highway.
Since then, Boldin has sought to give a voice not only to his family but also to those who feel that their cries for justice and change are falling on deaf ears.
“No. 1, you want to hear that they hear you,” Boldin told ESPN in 2016 before a trip to Capitol Hill. “You want to make sure they understand the things that we, as an African-American community, are going through. I don’t think our community feels that way right now, especially when it comes to law enforcement and the way we’re being policed.
“Our neighborhoods are feeling hurt. No. 2, you want to see changes in policy, in terms of how we train our police officers. And lastly, you want to see accountability — that justice will be served for all — to make sure that the relationship between the African-American community and police can be better. There’s work to be done on both sides because there’s a huge mistrust there. I want to help close that gap.”
Boldin and his wife, Dionne, have been heavily involved in community work in their hometown of Pahokee, Florida. The couple, who have two young sons, have touched thousands of families by providing educational and life opportunities, and in 2014, they established an endowment that has supported 15 four-year college scholarships.
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SOURCE: ESPN, Jim Trotter