CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins has not given much thought to his post-football career, but one thing is for sure, even though he is concerned about preparing to win games, there is a desire to help people in the community.
After making a trip to Washington, D.C. with several current NFL players on Tuesday to discuss concerns about police-involved shootings around the country, Hawkins left open the idea of a career in politics to help better the community around him.
“If there is any way I can help people, that is what I’m passionate about is helping others that are less fortunate or helping others get opportunities or have better lives,” Hawkins said. “If politics is a means to do that and I can create some positive change, that is the legacy you want to leave.
“That is something you can sink your teeth into. The money and the fame and all that kind of stuff, it is cool, but it is not anything important and nothing that my kids will be able to say, ‘Man, that was my dad and something I am proud of.’”
Along with Hawkins, quarterback Josh McCown made the trip to Washington, D.C., and the veteran NFL player is committed to bettering the community.
“Nobody wants to see that happen,” McCown said of the shootings. “Nobody wants to lose loved ones. I couldn’t imagine what that is like for some of these people that have gone through this. At the same time, from a law-enforcement perspective, just the jobs that they have to go out and do every night and the way that they go about it and just how much respect we have for them, you see both sides and you go, ‘What can I do to help bridge the gaps in those relationships to make it better for everybody?’”
Speaking out against police-involved violence is not something that is new to Hawkins.
During a December 2014 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hawkins ran out of the home team tunnel at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday wearing a black T-shirt with the words “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” on the front and “The Real Battle of Ohio” on the back.
The T-shirt brought attention to the deaths of Rice, a 12-year Clevelander shot and killed by police while reaching for a toy gun in his waistband, and Crawford, 22, was killed by authorities on Aug. 5 in a Beavercreek, Ohio, Wal-Mart during an incident involving what turned out to be an air gun.
“I think the guys that were there have done it for a long time,” Hawkins said of working in the community. “A lot of guys in this locker room have done it for a long time. It is something that we will continue to do, but what we are focused on is community and police relations when we went to Washington, so that was the focus and that was the issue at hand.”