Anquan Boldin Explains Inspiration Behind Justice Reform in Powerful Video

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2020

Former NFL player Anquan Boldin, speaks during a session to discuss criminal justice issues with other current and former NFL football players at Harvard Law School, Friday, March 23, 2018, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

Former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who played 14 seasons for the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, opened up about his cousin's death in a powerful public service advertisement for the NFL's Inspire Change platform.

The video, which ran during commercial breaks during the conference championship games Sunday, spotlights the death of Corey Jones at the age of 31.

As the Associated Press (h/t ESPN) noted, Jones was killed in 2015 by a plainclothes police officer in Florida after his car broke down.

The tragedy served as Boldin's inspiration for social justice reform and co-founding the Players Coalition.

"There are just some things that are bigger than football and I felt like starting the Players Coalition and affecting change in this country was one of those things," Boldin said in the video. "Had it not been for the work that we do, Corey's death would have been in vain. The best way to inspire change is to be it.''

As for Jones' death, ex-police officer Nouman Raja was found guilty of armed manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder, per the AP. According to prosecutors, Raja, who shot Jones multiple times, never identified himself as a police officer and approached Jones when he was on duty in plainclothes doing burglary surveillance.

The AP report also explained the NFL's Inspire Change initiative started partially in an effort to improve community and police relations while working with current and former players in the Players Coalition.