He wishes it didn’t have to come to this, but Darlington Nagbe has a plan for getting pulled over by police when driving.
The Columbus Crew SC midfielder reaches for his cell phone to either call someone or record the encounter. However, a few years ago, Nagbe was too terrified to phone his wife.
“When you get pulled over, especially being a Black man, the first thing is like, ‘Oh man,’” Nagbe told the Columbus Dispatch. “You’re not thinking about what you did; you’re just thinking about, ‘I just want to get out of the situation,’ which is a sad thought.”
Black MLS players created a coalition to be leaders in fighting for racial equality. I spoke to Darlington Nagbe and Aboubacar Keita before the formation of @BPCMLS for their perspective on racial inequality and systemic racism in America #Crew96 https://t.co/SWcpVltstn— Jacob Myers (@_jcmyers) June 24, 2020
That experience was minor, with the officer telling Nagbe he made a wrong turn. Driving his black Maserati in southern Tennessee another time resulted in Nagbe being pulled over for a reason that's still unknown to him.
“I shouldn’t have to think about that,” Nagbe said. “I should think about whoever gets pulled over, you get pulled over because you’re breaking some type of traffic law, not because of the color of your skin.”
Crew SC teammate Aboubacar Keita had a similar encounter with police last year when on loan with the Richmond Kickers. The 20-year-old was told he was speeding, but knew he was under the speed limit. No ticket or warning was issued. Instead, Keita said the officer began asking him about the Acura he was driving.
“He starts going back and forth with me like how can I afford that car,” Keita said. “At that point it was one of them things like I got really pissed off because it’s like you think this because I’m me.”