NFL players speak out about criminal justice system

Tuesday June 6th, 2017

Four NFL players wrote a stinging commentary on the nation's criminal justice system, imploring the policy makers to do more to help those who are jailed and those who have been released to help rebuild their lives.

Free agent wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin, and Lions cornerback Johnson Bademosi wrote an opinion column that was posted on CNN.com on Tuesday commenting on the war on drugs and calling out the Trump administration, particularly Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Sessions has ordered federal prosecutors to go after the most serious charges and sentences against defendants, a policy that critics say could send more people to the already overcrowded prisons in the United States.

The players cited the case of Evans Ray, who was was granted clemency in 2016 by former President Barack Obama after spending 12 years of a mandatory life sentence for distributing 60 grams of crack cocaine.

They also cited Boldin's cousin, who was killed by a police officer as he was waiting for a tow truck after his car broke down. Bademosi's father was jailed for a drug charge, then deported after serving his time.

"These stories are heartbreaking, but all too common to members of some communities in the United States," they said.

The players say the justice system is "broken" and that law enforcement locks up the "wrong people for the wrong reasons for too long."

"Few Americans are proud of the fact that our prison population has skyrocketed over the last two decades, even as crime rates have been on the decline," they wrote. "The daily prison population in this country is more than twice as large as the number of people who attend every NFL football game on any given Sunday in the fall. That is an embarrassment.

The players also say they hope that the Trump administration thinks twice about "reviving a war on drugs that no one can win."

"We are in this for the long haul. We know these problems won't be solved in a few weeks or months, but we are committed to using our voices to do whatever we can to truly make our neighborhoods safer.

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