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Antrel Rolle talks about Ferguson and Staten Island police incidents

Giants safety Antrel Rolle speaks to the media

Giants safety Antrel Rolle speaks to the media after a brief team practice at Timex Performance Center that served as the start of training camp. (July 26, 2013) Credit: James Escher

Antrel Rolle has never come out on the field with his hands up. He's never worn a T-shirt decrying police violence. He's never made a public show about where he stands on issues that have become part of the national discussion in recent weeks.

But he's close.

"More so this year than at any other time," Rolle told Newsday on Wednesday in an exclusive interview. "Now it seems like it's out of control."

As the Giants head to St. Louis to face the Rams, they'll be close to Ferguson, Missouri, the city torn apart by riots and unrest after the police shooting of Michael Brown earlier this year followed by no indictment by a grand jury against the officer.

"I don't really know what took place, you just know what's being presented to you," Rolle said. "What's being presented to you, in my opinion, it never really added up. As far as that situation goes, it's just unfortunate that you do see a lot of young black males being shot down and killed and there's no justice for it. It sickens me to my stomach. But it would be the same way for me if it was a white male being gunned down by black officers. It has nothing to do with color. It has to do with what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. That's the bottom line."

Rolle is in a unique position in the debate because his father, Al, is a veteran law enforcement officer and Chief of Police for Homestead, Florida.

"I never put my father in the same category as other officers," Rolle said. "My dad has always been a genuine guy. Not saying there are not some officers that aren't, but obviously there are a lot of officers who use their power in the wrong sense."

And not just in Ferguson. Rolle doesn't have to travel to a game in St. Louis to come in contact with similar incidents.

"The guy who gets choked out, I mean, the guy didn't have any weapon and the guy clearly was saying he can't breathe," Rolle said of the death of Eric Garner this year in a struggle with police officers in Staten Island. "His hands were up, he wasn't trying to fight back, and you killed him on the spot. Huh? It's evident right there. But that's the system, I guess."

Rolle said he doesn't see the incidents as racial but more an abuse of power.

"Especially these guys who are unarmed and so forth and so on, lives shouldn't be taken," he said. "You can't get that back. These guys aren't even allowed to tell their own stories."

Which is why others try to do it for them. Like Rams players -- Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt -- who last month walked onto the field and raised their palms in the air, demonstrating the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture that protesters in Ferguson had been using. Last week, Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins was introduced in Cleveland while wearing a shirt protesting recent Ohio police shootings.

Rolle won't be participating in such demonstrations.

"At the end of the day you can do that, all these guys can do that, but at the end of the day what is it really going to do?" he said. "It's not really going to do too much. The only way you can help move things is political. That's the only way. But I do admire those guys for doing what they're doing. For sure."

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