Jaguars RB Fournette on protest movement: ‘This is bigger than me’

AS IT HAPPENED: Mayor, sheriff join Leonard Fournette's march

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was front and center on Tuesday morning, joining with Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams to hold a peaceful protest walk to raise awareness for racial injustice.

It was the second major public showing by Jaguars players in wake of the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25. Fournette was not in town when the Jaguars held their peaceful protest walk from TIAA Bank Field to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office last Friday.

Fournette was at the forefront of the protest on a historical Tuesday morning, although several teammates joined him.

The City of Jacksonville removed a Confederate monument in Hemming Park before the morning walk. Mayor Lenny Curry said that the remaining monuments would also come down.

“I’m happy to see back and whites out here together,” Fournette said. “This is bigger than me. This is bigger than football. We’re going continue praying, coming together, doing what we have to do for our kids — the next generation. Black lives matter. Keep fighting you all.”

Fournette’s initial message came on the same day that Jaguars owner Shad Khan penned a powerful op-ed piece on the Jaguars website about racism in America and his hope that the country would use this moment in time to fight it head on.

Former defensive back Peyton Thompson said last week that Khan was an owner who players respected and supported.

The push for social justice and fight to end racial discrimination has exploded over the last month. The deaths of African Americans Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have pushed the country into protests and discussion on how to confront these societal issues.

The deaths of Arbery in Brunswick, Ga., and Floyd in Minneapolis, were caught on video. Arbery was killed by the son of a former law enforcement officer while running in a neighborhood. Floyd was killed by a police officer, who had his knee pressed into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Both Arbery and Floyd were killed by white men. Taylor was killed in her own home after police officers, serving a warrant to search for drugs, knocked down her door and shot her.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.