Leonard Fournette has invited a Florida sixth-grader to a Jaguars game after he was wrongfully arrested after refusing to stand for Pledge of Allegiance.
Fournette said in a statement, "When I heard about Jabari [Talbot's] arrest, I immediately had my team reach out so I could offer my support for this unjust moment. Jabari is a bright young student and I applaud him for the strength he has shown during this difficult situation. I know he’s a huge football fan and I’m looking forward to having him come to a Jaguars game this season."
According to The New York Times, the 11-year-old was arrested Feb. 4 after telling his substitute teacher he did not stand because he believes the pledge represents racism. The boy, who is black, had refused to stand for the pledge all year before the incident occurred.
The Lakeland Police Department said in a statement the boy was arrested on charges of disrupting the classroom, not for refusing to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. The student allegedly made threats as he was escorted to the office.
The American Civil Liberties Union became involved and called the encounter "outrageous."
According to the Times, the office of the 10th Judicial Circuit in Florida said on Feb. 19 it wouldn't prosecute the boy, calling the case closed. But earlier that day, a lawyer for the family suggested the case hadn't been resolved since the boy's mom didn't accept an offer from prosecutors to drop the case if the boy completed a diversion program.
The boy chose to change schools because of the incident, according to CNN. In the Feb. 21 article, a lawyer planned on filing a complaint with the office of civil rights for the U.S. Department of Education.
After the story became national news, Jay-Z and Roc Nation’s philanthropic arm "Team ROC" hired an attorney to work on the case pro-bono. Fournette is represented by Roc Nation. Other athletes and celebs have voiced support for the child.