As a part of the groundbreaking collaboration between the NFL and the NFLPA, the Players Coalition was born during the 2017 season. The league and its teams promised the coalition $89 million to be designated for social issues as well as support for causes near and dear to its players’ hearts. One such issue is criminal justice reform. According to Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB), three Patriots players spent time this offseason working to impact local district attorney races. Devin McCourty, along with his twin brother Jason, and longtime Patriots player Matthew Slater were at Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School to moderate a forum for the five candidates running to replace the outgoing district attorney for Boston and the rest of Suffolk County.
The candidates all had different backgrounds – race, religion, sex –but what mattered the most to the audience was how they’d handle the issues most important to their community. According to MMQB, this forum was one in a series hosted in five different cities across the U.S. by members of the Players Coalition. The local district attorney races in 2018 have been a focal point for NFL players, since DAs control who is charged with crimes and how the person is punished.
According to Jenny Vrentas, “the three Patriots spent a week brainstorming questions about mass incarceration, the juvenile system, immigration and police-community relations. They encouraged the audience members to educate themselves and cast their vote—‘helping communities understand how they can help themselves,’ McCourty said. Afterward, as the players lingered to talk to the audience members, some asked questions about the hot-button topic of the anthem demonstrations, but McCourty said they tried to keep the focus on the issues central to the September DA primary.
“That’s what we have talked about numerous times,” McCourty said. “Making sure no matter what comes up, the Eagles’ White House visit being canceled or the new anthem policy, we are going to stay focused on what we believe in, and that’s helping our communities.”
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