Lorenzo Carter was the star of the Giants’ scrimmage on Friday night. The linebacker had four sacks, forced a fumble and was flying into the backfield from multiple angles and positions.
Afterward, the performance was the last thing he wanted to talk about.
Carter, the third-year linebacker, used his media availability to discuss racial and social injustices that he said have been monopolizing his thoughts not just this week, but since the start of the summer. He ignored the first football-based question of his interview and launched into a long expression of what he has been feeling.
“Over the past couple months, it’s been really rough for me,” he said. “The community of Black people, and I know my team, we’ve come together and had many talks, and at this point I really feel like my main focus is making sure we do what we can do to bridge the gap between Black people in this society and everybody else.
“The state of this country, I’m not comfortable. Nobody is comfortable. The people I know in my hometown, the people I talk to, my teammates, we’re not comfortable. And this isn’t OK, whatever is going on.
“I just feel like this country is divided and we have to use our platform and we have to use our voices as Black men and as athletes, as influencers, as anybody who has a voice needs to use it. Not just Black, not just white, not Latino, but everybody. We have to come together. And until we do that, I can’t really honestly think about football.”
Carter said he woke up on Friday morning “thinking about the different people who have been done wrong and thinking about that this is the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech. And I can’t help but feel like everything Martin Luther King Jr. said in that speech is still relevant today. We’re still dealing with the same things. And that’s not right. We should be further ahead as a country, further ahead as a people. We have to do what we need to do.”
Carter also noted that this year is the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmitt Till.
“Honestly, that’s all that’s been on my mind this whole day,” he said. “Seeing everything that is going on in this country, I just know that this team, these people, these men, we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we bring about real change. We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to stop with that video we did and locking arms at the 50-yard line before the scrimmage. That’s not it. That’s a small gesture, but we have a lot more to do and a lot more work. Everybody is working hard. We’re doing more than just talking.
“We stand with the NBA, we stand with the MLB, we stand with the MLS, we stand with all the professional athletes who are choosing to make their voice heard, choosing to use their platform for a positive change and for peace and for justice.”
Asked what he wants, Carter said: “I just want equality. I want police, I want everybody, to realize that all life is sacred. All life is valued… It doesn’t matter what race, what color, what ethnicity, what religion, I just want America to stand on the values that were written out in the [Declaration of Independence], that all men are created equal and all men have inalienable rights to life, liberty and justice. I just want that check to be cashed. Like Martin Luther King said, I don’t believe that they should default on that check. I don’t believe that America is bankrupt in that we all have the right to life, liberty and justice.”
Carter said he spent the summer in Atlanta watching protests and the responses to them on television.
“I literally came to tears as I watched the news and I saw the National Guard and police officers on horses pushing back people and using tear gas bombs,” he said. “Just things I never thought I would see in my lifetime, things I thought were just in history books and videos. I sat there and watched it in real life and it was heart-wrenching.”
He said he wants people to continue to peacefully protest.
“I feel like we have to continue to do that and don’t let fear and division continue to manifest itself in this country,” he said. “We have to come together, we have to do it together.
"My team, we come from all different backgrounds. We have guys from the South, guys from the North, guys from the West Coast, guys from the middle of the country. We all come together and have a common goal. The microcosm of this world that we have in the locker room, I need that to become reality. We all work together toward one common goal.
"The United States, I believe we are the greatest country in the world and we need to show that. We need to show that we can come together and work toward that one common goal of being great. We’re America. This is the American Dream. People dream about coming here. We need to create that dream and keep that dream.”