Anquan Boldin shocked Buffalo Bills fans and the football world when he announced his retirement late Sunday night after only two weeks with the team. Understandably, based on the abruptness of the timing of his decision, tons of unanswered questions arose.
On Monday, Boldin addressed some of these questions and revealed that the recent racial conflict that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, served as the catalyst for his decision to retire.
“There’s not enough money in this world for me to continue to allow the things that are going on to continue to spread,” Boldin told John Wawrow of the Associated Press in article published on Monday. “I will not feel safe leaving this earth and having my kids have to live in the America that we have today.”
Humanitarian work has long been important to Boldin, who was named the 2015 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, who also has a foundation that provides educational support for underprivileged children.
“I think anybody with any sense can see how divided we are as a country, and Charlottesville only magnified what we were already seeing,” Boldin told Wawrow. “That’s not the America that I want to live in,” he said. “And I think the only way that this America changes is that we as a people stand up and change it.”
Boldin wanted to make it clear that nothing about the football field changed his mind about the Bills. He still feels he can compete at a high level and that the Bills were the team to let him do that. It didn’t factor into his decision.
"Do I feel like I can still play? Of course,” Boldin told SiriusXM NFL Radio, as transcribed by Wawrow. “My passion for the advocacy work that I do outweighs football at this point, so I’m not coming back to play for a contender or to do anything else. I’m done with the game of football.”
He also dismissed the notion that the Bills trading Sammy Watkins or Tyrod Taylor’s poor play was to blame.
“Not in the least bit. I think Tyrod is a fine quarterback and I think he’ll be just great. I have all the confidence in the world,” Boldin said. “I’ve played in this league for 14 years. I don’t think you base how a season is going to go based off of one preseason game. There’s a lot of things that go into what happens in the preseason. No. 1, you don’t game plan in the preseason. So for me to put some thought into saying ‘this is not what I signed up for’ would be absurd.”
Good for Boldin. People often forget that athletes are humans, too. Boldin had a Hall of Fame career but he has a chance to continue to impact the world in ways that are much bigger than football.