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Anquan Boldin on retiring: ‘There’s no better time than right now’

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin is shown against the Detroit Lions in the third quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
LISTEN: Anquan Boldin, Former Cardinal WR

Former Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin announced his retirement on Sunday, but his decision to call it a career goes well beyond football.

In 2015, a man named Corey Jones was waiting for roadside assistance along the side of a road in Florida when an undercover police officer approached. The officer never told Jones he was a cop — but he did tell him to put his hands up.

The officer shot and killed Jones.

That was Boldin’s cousin.

The officer in the shooting, Nouman Raja, is scheduled to go on trial on Oct. 30 of this year and faces charges of manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder, according to the Sun Sentinel, a newspaper in south Florida.

So when violence erupted recently in Charlottesville, Va. as white supremacists caused violence and protests that were linked to three deaths, racial tension in America was only worsened.

In an interview with The Blitz with B-Train and Jurecki on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station on Monday, Boldin explained his decision to retire and cited civil rights issues and current racial tension in America. He also mentioned his cousin’s death.

“Seeing the events that happened in Charlottesville really just took it over the top,” he said. “I had a Jewish friend who called me right after it happened. (…) He said, ‘I can’t believe that this is happening. I never thought that I would see this happen in America.’ And for me, I’m thinking, ‘This is what African-Americans have been trying to show everybody for the last — I don’t know how long.'”

Having just signed with the Bills on Aug. 8, Boldin was set to enter his 15th NFL season. He played for the Cardinals from 2003 to 2009 and is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. But the former Super Bowl champion had a greater calling.

“For me, it was something more than football,” Boldin said Monday. “I think everyone that knows me knows that my passion has always been football. But I think at this point, there’s something that overrides me wanting to accomplish different things on the field. And that right now is the work that I do helping other people.

“There’s no better time than right now. Everybody in this country knows what we’re going through as a country.”

In the interview Monday, Boldin said he didn’t see himself running for any office or political position. But he did say he wants to battle injustices with the platform he’s been provided through football.

“My family is still going through an ordeal where my cousin was killed on the side of the road. … So, for me, this isn’t something that’s new,” he said.

“I’ll continue to do the things I’ve been doing, giving my voice to those that don’t have a voice,” Boldin said. “Going to Capital Hill, testifying before Congress, doing work locally on the state level, on the federal level. I’ll continue to advocate for the rights of those who feel like they don’t have equal rights. I’ll continue to fight for the injustices that are going on in this country.”

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