TUSCALOOSA – Alex Leatherwood didn’t choose to be at the center of the storm. He felt like the storm came to him.
Leatherwood is best known as an All-American offensive lineman for the Alabama Crimson Tide and, like most Southeastern Conference football players, he is eager for the delayed season to start on Sept. 26. But this summer, the Booker T. Washington grad gained another sort of attention by writing the script for a video in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and against racial injustice, a video that included many of his teammates from diverse backgrounds, as well as coach Nick Saban.
“The creative process, to be honest with you, it was, it came to me out of nowhere,” Leatherwood said on a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday. “I am by no means a writer or anything like that. I’m very math-minded, left brain. I feel like that was something that came to me. I’m not really an outspoken person, but I feel like those thoughts and those feelings that I have toward the situation needed to be heard. So I just used my platform to do so.
“What inspired me to do it was seeing this past summer all the things that were going on and taking place,” Leatherwood said. “It was just very disheartening, you know what I mean? I feel like us, being who we are and having this platform, I felt it was a great opportunity to show – to be a voice for my people from a standpoint and a platform that a lot of people would listen, you know what I mean?”
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Many of the issues that arose this summer following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police have been rekindled this week by the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, and subsequent violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Leatherwood said Alabama players continue to follow such news events closely.
“Of course it’s been discussed around the team, and stuff like that,” Leatherwood said. “We’re not really angered, but we just don’t feel good about that kind of stuff. We don’t like to see it. It shouldn’t be, like, normal to be seeing that stuff every few weeks, every month or so. It’s just not good. We don’t like it.”
Leatherwood also spoke on football matters. He said he never considered opting out of the season and that he “feels extremely safe” on campus despite a predicted spike in coronavirus positives announced by UA this week. He also discussed his decision not to enter the 2020 NFL Draft during the early-exit window in January.
“I felt like I left a lot on the table as a player. I felt like I had a lot more to offer. I wanted to come back and capitalize on that.”
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