Not Sticking to Sports, Charlottesville Native Chris Long Feels Responsibility to Speak Out - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Not Sticking to Sports, Charlottesville Native Chris Long Feels Responsibility to Speak Out

Long, who went to St. Anne's-Belfield School before attending the University of Virginia - both in Charlottesville - said he'd "be willing to bet that the mast majority of people voicing those white supremacist sentiments were from out of town."

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    Not Sticking to Sports, Charlottesville Native Chris Long Feels Responsibility to Speak Out
    CSNPhilly.com
    Not sticking to sports, Charlottesville native Chris Long feels responsibility to speak out

    Eagles defensive end Chris Long is from Charlottesville, Virginia. It's where he went to high school and college. He feels a responsibility to speak out about the crisis in his hometown. 

    And he's not sticking to sports.

    On Saturday, the 32-year-old spoke out publicly, via Twitter, against the white nationalists holding the rally and President Donald Trump's response, which condemned "violence on many sides." 

    "Some people are tired of hearing me tweet because they want me to stick to football but I like to use social media like I was a regular guy because I think I am," Long said Sunday. "I don't tell people to stick to their job when they want to talk politics. And this isn't political. That's the thing. Everybody is trying to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right or wrong. I believe you're on one side or the other. For me, being from Charlottesville, no one wants to see you sit idly by and watch that stuff happen and not say anything. And I wish there was more categorical denial from some very important people in this country who have had the opportunity to strike it down but didn't."

    Long, who went to St. Anne's-Belfield School before attending the University of Virginia - both in Charlottesville - said he'd "be willing to bet that the mast majority of people voicing those white supremacist sentiments were from out of town." 

    He thinks the majority of the folks trying to stop them were either from the town or students. 

    "So it's disheartening but I really think it's desperation for those folks that feel threatened by us doing the right thing," he said.  

    The "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville began when the decision was made to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. The rally was met by counter-protesters and the scene turned extremely violent. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. 

    Long said he is "all for free speech" but said he finds those opinions to be "despicable." 

    Football has given Long a chance to perhaps see the world differently than he ever would have. He spoke Sunday about how much the locker room has molded him. 

    "I wish everybody would have a chance to be on a team," he said. "I really do believe, it might be cliché, but we come from a lot of different walks of life and backgrounds and I've played with a lot of guys I probably would have never met in other walks of life. We sit here in a bubble in a really positive way. I wish the rest of the world could be on a team. I know that sounds kind of cliché but we get to really be exposed to each other's different cultures, different ways of life and the way we look at different things. And I think that's the really cool thing about being on a team."