Although it was just a scrimmage, Giants outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter came ready to play, recording three sacks—four depending on how you view one that he appeared to share with Leonard Williams—and at least three other quarterback pressures.
But despite his stellar performance in the Giants Blue-White scrimmage, football was the furthest thing from Carter’s mind.
The 24-year-old linebacker, when asked about his performance, opened up his heart to share his innermost feelings about the state of the country and, in particular racial injustice that has sparked civil unrest.
And Carter has had enough.
“I woke up this morning thinking about the different people that have been done wrong,” Carter said as part of a three-plus minute monologue.
“This is the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King's, ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, and I can't help but feel like everything he said in that speech is still relevant today, and we're still dealing with the same thing, and that's not right. We should be further ahead as a country is to be further ahead as people.”
Carter as not one of the six players who recorded the team’s video statement that aired before they took part in their scrimmage game. That video came about as a result of the discussions the players had Thursday with the coaches and team co-owner John Mara, who was also part of the video that was recorded Friday afternoon.
But he was there front and center with his teammates who formed two lines at midfield before kickoff and who locked arms in a show of solidarity. And although Carter’s heart and mind were preoccupied with things bigger than football, he still managed to shine as one of the Blue-White scrimmage stars.
Not that it matters to Carter, whose heart was heavy with grave concern over the direction the country has taken.
“The state of this country--I'm not comfortable,” he said. “Nobody is comfortable. The people that I know in my own town, the people that I've talked to, my teammates were not comfortable with, and this is okay, and whatever's going on, I just feel like we had country divided and we asked to use our platforms.
"We have to use our voices as black men and as athletes, as influencers-- anybody that has a voice needs to use it. And until we do that, I can't really honestly think about football.”
Carter knows that change isn’t going to happen overnight and that it’s going to take a village of people to get on the same wavelength before progress can be made.
“I just want you equality,” he said. “I want everybody to realize that all life is sacred, all life is valued. I don't, I just don't want to see that justice be done. I just want America to stand on the values that were written out in the Constitution, that all men are created equal. And I just want that check to be cashed like Martin Luther King Jr said.”
Carter and his teammates have been trying to do their part to improve social relationships between different races, religions, and people of varying backgrounds.
“We have a lot more to do,” Carter said. “Everybody's working hard. We're doing more than just talk. We stand with all the professional athletes that are choosing to make their voice heard and choosing to use their platform for positive change and for peace and for justice.”