If you follow Justin Jackson on social media, you know he isn't shy about sharing his views on political issues or current events. To that end, he also appreciates your First Amendment right to disagree with him and offer a dissenting opinion – just be prepared for a spirited debate.
As someone who personally delved deep into history and politics his junior year of college, Jackson prides himself on having an understanding of how the country has evolved over time and keeping up to date recent news.
On Wednesday, the running back got candid and gave his take to the media when asked about the current state of affairs with social justice in our country; including why he's proud to be part of the generation pushing for change, how he's grateful to be with an organization that welcomes thoughtful discussion and meaningful action, the impact recent events around the country has had on the team, and more:
On the Impact Current Events Has Had on the Team
"People who are directly affected by it, and even our coaches who may not have experienced anything like this, just standing in solidarity means a lot for us players. To be able to have the space to talk and to be able to have the trust within our rooms and the chemistry, it's a tough conversation to have, but it's easier to have with someone when you know their heart, you've been around them, and you know them really well. And so, that in and of itself is very powerful and moving. I think that just goes to show why a lot of guys, and particularly myself, just love being part of this team. Because, you have those people, not only on the team, but within the organization, that we all support each other, and they really want to be in this fight with us and that's really important to all of us. It just makes you want to go that much harder and play that much harder for the organization. (I'm) definitely really excited and happy to be part of the Chargers organization."
On Head Coach Anthony Lynn Sharing His Story
"It means a lot to a lot of the guys who have lived this. He has, too. And I think the story that he told was really good and really telling for a lot of us because, it don't matter what you do. At the end of the day, when you're out there on the street and someone doesn't know who you are, you're just another black dude. We all feel that, and it was good to have our coach speak up, speak out, and kind of lead our organization. I got a text from our GM (Tom Telesco) the other day, too, talking about it. Just to know they have our back and we have their support, obviously that means a lot to us so that we can feel like we can speak without any barriers or any type of repercussions with them. Which is not how it should be anyway. Just because we play football doesn't mean we're not just regular people, too. We experience these things outside of our facility, so, it affects all of us, too."
On Teammates Sharing Personal Experiences with Racism/Social Injustice
"It's awesome to be able to have the floor to talk about it and bounce things off each other like, 'Oh, you experienced that? I experienced that, too.' To know that there's other people who have gone through the same things you have, you can kind of connect on that. And then even if you haven't, you can think, 'Wow, that's wild. Even if I haven't experienced that, I'm with you and I got your back.' I think we're just a microcosm of what's going on around the country, really, because you're seeing a lot of that in the general public, too.
"I think if you're a black man in America, you've had at least one of these experiences. And when it comes down to it, when you step outside of that facility and someone doesn't know who you are, which unless you're LeBron James or someone like that, we're not all the tallest or sometimes not biggest of people, you just look like regular guy. So, we go through this stuff and so we all have our own personal stories, but you can tell everyone's been affected by it. And even people who haven't been affected by it, hearing these stories, they can empathize with you … I think it's a real eye-opening experience. Not only for myself hearing other people's stories, but for people who haven't (personally) experienced it, to hear what we go through."
On His Generation Being the Change
"This movement, especially now, especially with Black Lives Matter, it's not just about police brutality. It's really a wholesale thing. We want more substantive change for our communities. Our communities have been downtrodden for way, way too long. We've gone through Republican presidents, Democratic presidents, black presidents, it doesn't matter. Our communities still seem to stay the same. There's no jobs, there's no opportunities. Education's really bad. There's no money being put into it. So, we want change, and I think it's really nice to see people are calling out their local politicians. We're done with photo ops and pandering and all that B.S. People aren't falling for that anymore which I think is really awesome and important. I think the young generation has it down, we just need the older generation to come around … I think we're going to be the change and I think you see that just throughout the country with these protests and everything, they're all being led by young leaders. I'm really excited to see that and glad to be a part of it."