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Cardinals players label Charlottesville violence an eye-opener for America

This Jan. 27, 2009 file photo shows Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby speaking to reporters during the team's media day for Super Bowl XLIII, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Drew Stanton breathed a heavy sigh. Evan Boehm declined to comment despite an active history on the topic. Tyvon Branch walked away for fear he’d say something he regretted.

“I think I’m going to stay away from that one,” Branch said. “I don’t have too many nice things to say.”

Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, Va., have been discussed within the confines of the Cardinals locker room. There was universal disgust for the unbridled racism on display by white supremacist marchers, sorrow for the three people who died, and a collective shake of the head that such events are still taking place in America.

“In 2017, you wouldn’t think that you’d be seeing these types of things but at the end of the day, the way I look at it is it’s an eye opener for people,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “It’s just tough to wrap your head around it, but you need to pull that lid back because there’s a lot of people that really didn’t think racism existed. Now that you’re seeing this and seeing it on camera, this is something that needs to be said. Now that’s it’s out, what are we going to do?”

Linebacker Karlos Dansby believes he has greater insight on the issue because of his upbringing and history with racism.

“I’m from Alabama,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff that took place in Birmingham with the 16th Street (Baptist Church) bombings. There’s a lot of things that I’ve been able to overcome that people don’t even know.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do as people. It was definitely a setback and it’s sad to see something like that take place; very disturbing. It’s sad that we’re still living like that. At some point, we’re going to have to get over it.”

President Donald Trump, who will be in town Tuesday for a campaign-style rally, has come under severe and widespread criticism for his handling of, and comments on, the topic. Dansby and Bethea are among those critics.

“First of all, you’ve got to know the history before you even speak on it — what really took place in the United States,” Dansby said. “He’s been alive for a lot longer than I have but his awareness and his knowledge of the history is very minute. For him to speak on the things and topics he was speaking on, he wasn’t prepared.”

Bethea didn’t like the message Trump delivered.

“For somebody to be the leader of a free nation, in my eyes, I don’t think that’s the right narrative you should put out,” Bethea added. “I’m not a big political guy but at the end of the day we all have morals, we all are grown folks that know right from wrong. We should be able to speak out on that regardless of what religion you are, if you’re a liberal or whatever the case may be.

“Right is right. Wrong is wrong.”

Stanton said the team isn’t thinking much about Trump’s visit because it falls during training camp, but he was at a loss for how to ease the racial tensions apparent in the nation.

“There is no right answer to it or solution,” he said. “You just hate to see stuff like that still occur.”

While Bethea admitted there are no easy solutions, he does feel action is imperative.

“This is the time for people to speak out. Black, white, regardless,” he said. “If you’re silent about it, you’re for it, so I think it’s a time for people to speak out and the people who are against racism have got to come together.”

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