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August 14, 2017

Eagles’ Chris Long speaks out against white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, his hometown

For most of his life, Eagles defensive end Chris Long has made his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, a city that has been featured heavily in the news over the past few days after a white nationalist/neo-Nazi rally and its counterprotests turned violent. There have been three recorded deaths (one from a car “plowing into a group of counterprotestors,” two from a police helicopter crash) and many more injuries.

Long initially reacted on Twitter, along with Eagles teammate Malcolm Jenkins, to both condemn the initial rally and also criticize President Donald Trump’s response to the situation:

The rally was initially organized to protest a plan by Charlottesville officials to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a local park. And at Eagles practice on Monday, Long discussed the weekend’s events in his hometown.

“I can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be a minority and walk by a Confederate monument in a public place,” Long said. “Our city council has voted to change the name of those parks and those statues are on their way out, so I think what you’re seeing is a bunch of insecurity and people coming into town to make noise about it.”

Long said that some of his Eagles teammates, aware that he is from Charlottesville, have asked his perspective on the situation. He has provided background for them, calling the city a “forward-thinking, progressive, logical place.”

“I think it’s unfortunate that it happened in my hometown, but it’s unfortunate more so that it exists in America,” Long said. “White supremacy, there’s no place for it.”

Long is undeterred by any potential backlash from sharing non-football opinions both on social media and in the press. In other words, the 32-year-old Super Bowl champion will not be sticking to sports anytime soon.

"I don't tell people to stick to their job when they want to talk politics,” Long told CSN on Sunday. “And this isn't political. That's the thing. Everybody is trying to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right or wrong. I believe you're on one side or the other.”

Long went to both high school (St. Anne's-Belfield School) and college (University of Virginia) in Charlottesville before being selected by St. Louis as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. And when asked about the crisis in his hometown, Long’s message has been consistent.

“I’m not the victim here,” Long said. “The victims are people that suffer from the consequences of white supremacy in our country, people that actually watched that on TV that are minorities and might not feel like they can be safe with that stuff going on. So yeah, it pisses you off but I can only imagine being a victim of that.”

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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