"Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work, and at this time, I feel drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority," Boldin said in his original statement, via Jim Trotter of ESPN.com.
He added the reaction from the Buffalo Bills in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday.
"I'm sure that they are [disappointed]," Boldin said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. "I wouldn't expect them to be anything less. But as [men], they respect it. They wished me nothing but the best, and I appreciate that."
Perhaps the most interesting part of his explanation was noting the current events that helped prompt his retirement just two weeks after signing with the Bills.
"[It was about] what happened in Charlottesville, not what happened in Buffalo," he said.
Boldin is clearly best known for his work on the field, where he ranks ninth in NFL history with 1,076 career receptions. He has gone to three Pro Bowls and helped the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl after the 2012 season.
However, he has also made a significant impact away from the NFL. He earned the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2016 thanks to his work with the Anquan Boldin Foundation, which helps underprivileged children get education.
The 36-year-old appears ready to put more effort into his community work rather than helping the Bills.
"Do I think I can solve all the problems that we have in this country? Of course not," he said Monday, per Scott Allen and Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. "But I think I do have a duty to stand up and make my voice heard and be a voice for those that don’t have a voice."