USF football player calls for ‘peace walk’ in Tampa

USF Bulls

South Florida Bulls defensive back KJ Sails (9) gets ready to play defense during an NCAA football game on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark Lomoglio)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You will find the words “The future Mayor of Tampa, Florida” underneath his name on Twitter but, to be clear, this man prioritizes action.

KJ Sails, a senior defensive back on the football team at the University of South Florida, is from Tampa. He graduated from East Bay High School and he attended the University of North Carolina before he decided to transfer to USF to be home.

He shared a letter he wrote to the “Tampa Community” on Thursday morning.

“The beauty of sports is that it brings people from all walks of life together,” Sails said.

He invited the community to join him on a unifying walk on Saturday afternoon.

“Often times sports is the great unifier,” he said. “So it is important to me that the entire Tampa Bay athletic community comes together to walk with me as we fight for justice and equality for MY African American community!”

Sails explained the significance of the route, which will start at 1108 North Franklin Street in Tampa at noon and end at the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church on 1212 East Scott Street.

“The area the church is located in was called Central Park Village,” he said. “It was considered a prominent and thriving black community throughout the mid 1900s.”

He included the story of Martin Chambers, a black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer in that village more than 50 years ago. The riots ravaged the area for three days.

“Sadly,” said Sails, “these same incidents are happening today as we all witnessed with George Floyd’s murder.”

He labeled the walk a “peace walk” and he said it is intended to “show the world what unity is supposed to look like.”

Sails is a man of action, who leads by example on the football field and in this community, and, now, he is asking you to join him.

“If you truly support and love me how you claim to, then WALK WITH ME! Not later, NOW! I WILL SEE YOU SATURDAY!”

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