When the list of players signing the Players Coalition’s letter to the attorney general over the death of Ahmaud Arbery became public, one name jumped off the page and into headlines.
Former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin wrote to Attorney General William Barr last week in a letter signed by dozens of sports figures calling for an immediate investigation into the shooting death of Arbery.
Among those attaching their names were Miami Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy, NFL vice president Troy Vincent and former Heat and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.
But it carried special meaning to Boldin that Brady, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new quarterback, took a stance on social injustice.
“I think it’s very significant,” Boldin said on ESPN’s “First Take.” “Especially having Tom be a guy who hasn’t been involved in politics at all. He’s kind of stayed away from it. But it just goes to show that people are tired of (the injustice) happening. We’ve seen it over and over again, and far too long, we’ve allowed it to go on and not speak out about it. So to have someone like Tom Brady sign the letter, it was very significant.”
Boldin, who wrote the letter as co-founder of the Players Coalition, also singled out Van Gundy.
“I would say that Stan Van Gundy is a guy that I’ve worked with on a number of different issues, especially here in Florida,” Boldin said. “He helped us get Amendment 4 passed last year, which restored voting rights to formerly convicted felons. Stan Van Gundy is a guy who’s always been involved. He’s a guy who stood side by side with us on a number of different issues.”
On Thursday, Gregory McMichael, 64, and son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested and charged in connection with the shooting, but nationwide protests were held because it took more than two months for any arrests to be made.
Among the other white athletes and coaches who signed Boldin’s letter were David Andrews, Julian Edelman and Ryan Izzo of the New England Patriots and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
Boldin said apprehension by white athletes to speak out doesn’t mean they don’t back steps to help the black community.
“A lot of them are afraid to say the wrong things,” Boldin said.
Boldin’s coalition also sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on Monday urging the organization to provide internet service to the needy during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.