Count Shea Salinas as someone whose eyes have been opened by recent Black Lives Matter protests following the May death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
As Salinas tells the San Jose Mercury News, he regrets it took this long.
Speaking to San Jose Earthquakes beat reporter Elliott Almond, the midfielder recalled a time not long ago when he was annoyed and even angered by the act of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality.
More recent events, including the Floyd tragedy and protests that followed, have seen him change his mind.
“It breaks my heart that it has taken multiple horrible deaths for me to see this,” Salinas said. “I realize that I have a lot of blind spots and ignorance that I didn’t know I had. Now, how do I use my platform, how do I use my vote and how do I use my voice to help others?”
The realization is especially stinging because Salinas has his own experiences with racism as a first-generation Mexican American who grew up in Texas.
For more on how Salinas changed his mind, check out the Mercury News story here. There's also MLSsoccer.com's own Charles Boehm's talk with Quakes striker Danny Hoesen about how he has been effected by the recent conversation and tried to expose teammates to the racism black players may face.