Giants running back Rashad Jennings continued to make good on his pledge to promote racial harmony and improved relations among police and minorities by inviting New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker to speak with the team on Wednesday. Jennings said an estimated 20-25 players, as well as coach Ben McAdoo, general manager Jerry Reese and several office staff attended the meeting.
“Cory Booker came in and educated everybody on a broad range on the criminal justice system, legislation, how things are operated, statistics, to kind of reiterate the things that we may have been through and bring to light some things we had no idea about,” Jennings said. “Some of it was very alarming, like the high incarceration rate of people of color.”
Jennings had invited Booker to speak with the Giants as a result of discussions about recent police shootings of African- Americans and the protests of the national anthem by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and several other players around the league.
“Guys were attentive from start to finish, asking questions, wanting to know how they could be involved, black and white [players],” Jennings said of the meeting, which lasted for about an hour and 15 minutes. “It was a first step. You can’t fix everything, so we think it could be smart to decide on something that we actually want to do to make an impact and change in the justice system.
“Once you hear the facts, you want to make a difference in any way you possibly can,” Jennings said. “Law is good and it needs to be enforced, but people need to be accountable for their actions. This is not going to be a one-week fix. This is something that’s a start and it may take time, but it’s good to see that guys care once they have the proper information and are educated. If certain information is not privy to you, you’re not aware, so it’s hard to care. It’s hard to make a difference. But once you’re educated and you have the facts, then you have more confidence in actually making a step to make a change.”
Jennings said he hopes people from all levels of society can work together to address the problem.
“Let’s be the bridge,” he said. “I think that’s what we’re trying to do in a healthy way. It takes education on both sides and it takes a lot of pride and humility on both sides to understand each other.”