Former Detroit Lions' player Anquan Boldin abruptly retires
By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Anquan Boldin didn’t decide overnight he was going to quit football in order to speak out against longstanding concerns over inequality in America.
The recent deadly and racially charged conflict in Charlottesville, Virginia, did, however, become the tipping point that caused Boldin to reassess his priorities and led to the Buffalo Bills receiver’s decision to retire after 14 NFL seasons.
“I think anybody with any sense can see how divided we are as a country, and Charlottesville only magnified what we were already seeing,” Boldin said.
He was disturbed by the hateful messages directed at African-Americans, Jewish people and the LGBT community during a rally involving neo-Nazis and other right-wing groups in which a counter-protester was killed and two Virginia state police officers died on Aug. 13.
“That’s not the America that I want to live in,” he said. “And I think the only way that this America changes is that we as a people stand up and change it.”
Boldin spoke a day after abruptly informing the Bills he was retiring some two weeks after signing a one-year contract with a base salary of $1.75 million.
The NFL’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Boldin is no stranger to activism and humanitarian causes. He oversees the South Florida-based Q81 Foundation, which offers educational support for underprivileged children.
He has lobbied for criminal justice reform at the state and federal levels since his cousin was killed by a plain-clothes police officer along the side of a Florida highway in October 2015.
Boldin ranks in the top four among active receivers with 1,076 catches, 13,779 yards receiving and 82 touchdowns receiving.
He spent last season with Detroit, where he had 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games.