Jacori Hayes - portrait against black background - use only for special posts

Jacori Hayes on visiting site of George Floyd murder, losing fear of speaking out

Minnesota United midfielder Jacori Hayes has been outspoken since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. He’s penned a personal essay and even appeared on The Call Up to discuss issues of racism and inequality.

Hayes continues to make his voice heard, recently visiting where Floyd’s last steps were. He recounted the experience during a Pioneer Press article.

“I ended up staying one or two minutes and walked away,” Hayes said. “I have mixed feelings about going down there just because I saw him die. Part of me didn’t want to make it feel like a tourist event, like I’m going down there to take photos and say, ‘Yeah, I went there.’ Personally, I didn’t want to be insensitive.”

Hayes also pointed to ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and how some ridiculed him protesting by kneeling during the national anthem. That national discourse created pause, Hayes said, but now a spark’s occurred that makes him more outspoken.

“We all know what happened with Colin Kaepernick, and you feel like maybe it’s not the time or place,” Hayes said. “You don’t want to jeopardize your own personal career doing it. That has always been in the back of my mind. At some point, it’s got to be enough is enough. It’s bigger than soccer or a personal career; it’s about helping out other people.”

For more from Hayes, who awaits his Loons debut after being acquired via trade from FC Dallas, check out the full story here.


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