Detroit Lions cornerback turned potential wide receiver Jamal Agnew entered the league just as the discussion about Colin Kaepernick and his anthem protest was just getting going. As a rookie, however, Agnew was just trying to stay afloat. Those days have now changed with him as a veteran player in the league.
Agnew attended the Freedom March this past weekend in Detroit and walked with Matt Patricia, Romeo Okwara, Julian Okwara and Christian Jones. He also didn’t shy away from talking to the media about his feelings on everything going on in America at the current moment and his feelings.
As Agnew explained to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, at the time of the first NFL protests in 2017, he was a bit naive and consumed with how folks might view him. The days of that are now over given the intense need for change and a dialogue in America.
“I feel like I was scared to speak my voice (then), speak my stance just because of what other people would think,” Agnew said Friday. “And I’m tired of that. And I think that’s what’s going to help spring forward change is just people just being tired of it, ’cause I’m tired of it.”
Agnew, Jones and the Okwaras took part in a silent march across the Belle Isle bridge — Patricia departed after the rally — and Agnew carried a sign that read, “Being Black Isn’t ‘Probable Cause,’ ” and asked for justice for Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police in March and would have celebrated her 27th birthday Friday.
“I have this huge platform that I need to take advantage of,” Agnew said. “I feel like I didn’t take advantage of that. Obviously, I wasn’t in the league in 2016 when (Colin) Kaepernick took his first protest, but I feel like I could have stood stronger and I don’t want to squander this moment right now. I feel like I got to take advantage of this platform. I got to inspire the youth to do the same and not be scared to speak out because we’re all living in America.”
Indeed, Agnew has been amongst the most vocal members of the team on social media since the murder of George Floyd, but beyond that, it’s nice to see him getting personally involved and taking a vested interest in broad issues and their impacts close to home in Detroit. Marching with his teammates merely showed his commitment to that moving forward. Things like that will endear Agnew to his fans in the Motor City into the future.
Speaking out has been an important theme for the Lions this week in the wake of the discussion currently happening in America. Teammates from Trey Flowers to Frank Ragnow and even his coach Patricia have been speaking up about the need for change and their commitment to change.
Agnew finding his voice on important matters is a positive development during some of the most difficult challenges the world has ever faced.
Jamal Agnew’s Stats With Lions
The Lions uncovered a potential hidden gem when they found Agnew in the fifth round of the draft in 2017. He quickly burst on the scene as an electric returner and in his career has managed to rack up 916 return yards in his career with three touchdowns. Two of those scores came in his rookie season, when he was named an All-Pro special teams player. In 2019, the Lions managed to get a 100 yard kickoff return for a score from Agnew to help in defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road.
Agnew’s stats as a cornerback are much more limited given he hasn’t played much there through the years. In his career in the NFL, he has only defended a pass and has 17 tackles to his credit. Obviously, the Lions prefer to save Agnew for the special teams given his electrifying moves. This offseason,
It’s obvious that switching positions could be a good way for Agnew.
Lions Release Statement Regarding Social Injustice
Last Wednesday afternoon, the team put forth a statement to DetroitLions.com regarding what’s currently playing out in America. It read as follows:
“The painful examples of racism and social injustice reflected in the senseless deaths happening in our country are incredibly disturbing and it is clear that immediate change is necessary.
Over the last several days, it was important for our team to gather virtually so that the pain, confusion, anger and frustration that people are feeling could be shared as we attempt to process what is happening around us. This range of emotion has consumed the time we have spent together as a team this week. Our internal conversations have been powerful and emotional. We will continue to listen, support our players and learn as we press forward together.
Right is right and wrong is wrong. What is happening is not acceptable. We recognize that the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are only the most recent examples plaguing our communities. Our club vows to expand on the work already being done in the Detroit community – through real action and conversation – to help our team make an impact in areas of great need. We have a duty to lead these conversations now and always, but it is equally if not more important that we continue to LISTEN. The events over the past week are a hurtful reminder that we have a long way to go with inclusion, diversity and equality for all people.
We have a responsibility to create positive change.”
With the Lions, now all 4 of Detroit’s major sports teams have released strong takes on the situation currently taking place in America and the need for change.
By assisting in recent events and boosting the voice of their players, the Lions are putting their money and time where their mouth is and committing to real change.