Every time a Black man is the victim of a police shooting, Saquon Barkley wonders, “What if that was my brother?”
Then he thinks about the possibility it could’ve been his father.
Alibay Barkley was manhandled and stunned by a Taser during a dispute over a bus pass with a Pennsylvania transportation authority, according to a discrimination lawsuit cited in multiple reports.
“In that little situation right there, you could lose someone that you really care about,” Barkley said. “You can’t look at it as it’s Jacob Blake. You have to look at it as, ‘What if I was in that situation? What if it was your brother or your cousin? What if it was Shep or Golden (teammates Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate)?”
Barkley’s father settled the suit for Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority and the city of Allentown for $45,000 in April 2018, just before the Giants drafted his son.
“I remember that phone call I got from my mom that my dad was mishandled,” Barkley said. “At the time, they thought my dad was wrong but we went through it and found out my dad was right, which obviously I knew. I’ll never forget I was walking to (football facility) Lasch Building back at Penn State. I remember how I felt in that moment: It hurt me.”
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The memory inspires Barkley to use his platform as a NFL star crossing into pop culture fame to fight for social and racial justice. He invoked the names of NBA great Bill Russell and free-agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick when talking about athletes who fought for change regardless
The shooting of Blake, who was hospitalized and survived, by Kenosha, Wisconsin police earlier this week sparked NBA, WNBA, and MLB teams refusing to play games out of protest. Several NFL teams cancelled practices, though the Giants were on the field Thursday morning.
“My thoughts and prayers go to Jacob Blake’s family,” Barkley said. “It makes you sick. Especially being a Black man, knowing how my parents raised me. When you see those situations continue to happen, words really can’t describe.”