The Carolina Panthers continue to assess how to best respond as a team to discrimination and police shootings like the one in Charlotte last week. Safety Tre Boston has led the charge, and he’s reportedly interested in one pre-game gesture called a “circle of unity.”
On Friday, Boston will meet with the Old Dominion University football team in Charlotte to discuss the Virginia team’s response, according to The Virginian-Pilot: In a sign of solidarity with victims of police brutality, the Old Dominion team last weekend joined hands in a circle and raised their arms to the crowd, a gesture they called the “circle of unity.”
Before their Monday night game, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints did the same thing after the National Anthem.
Boston told reporters after the Panthers played the Minnesota Vikings Sunday that he and his teammates sought a unified response that would not offend anyone.
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“We’ve gotta organize and do it the right way,” Boston said. “When you want to show a sign of unity, you’ve gotta have unity.”
NFL players displaying overt gestures against discrimination has become more common after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the National Anthem. Panthers safety Marcus Ball raised his right hand high in a fist with his index finger up during the anthem Sunday, five days after a black civilian named Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer.
Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder heard that Boston was looking for a unified team response and reached out to him Monday by phone, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Boston was reportedly intrigued by so-called the circle of unity.
On Monday, Boston retweeted two of Wilder’s tweets about the gesture, one by Old Dominion and the other by the Falcons and Saints.
“Like our kids, he’s really hurt about what’s happening, but moreso because he lives in Charlotte and sees it every day. He’s trying to figure out something the team could do to unite Charlotte,” Wilder said of Boston, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
Wilder said Saturday that the team will hold a series of mentoring sessions, called “Children 4 Humanity.” Boston,The Virginian-Pilot reported, said he wants to do something similar in Charlotte.
Boston has said he wished the team could have been able to come together last Sunday, but that he will not let another week go by without displaying some sort of gesture. The Panthers play the Falcons in Atlanta Sunday at 1 p.m.
Old Dominion plays UNC Charlotte at 6 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium Saturday.