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Sherman on police shootings: ‘This is wrong, and we need to do something’

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 21:  Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 35-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 21: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 35-6. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – Richard Sherman gave his strongest statement yet Wednesday on racial inequality in the U.S., saying many people are missing the point behind NFL players’ protests during the national anthem.

“The reason these guys are kneeling, the reason we’re locking arms, is to bring people together to make people aware that this is not right,” the Seattle Seahawks cornerback said Wednesday during a press conference at the VMAC. “It’s not right for people to get killed in the street.”

Sherman said the protests are not a reflection on players’ patriotism.

“When a guy takes a knee, you can ignore it, you can say he’s not being patriotic, he’s not honoring the flag,” he said. “I’m doing none of those things. I’m saying it straight up: This is wrong, and we need to do something. “

Sherman was speaking in apparent reference to Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man whose shooting death by Tulsa police was captured on video this week. Sherman, who’s heavily involved in community service, said it’s become difficult to give advice to the kids he works with.

“You tell a kid ‘when you’re dealing with police, just put your hands up and comply with everything,’” Sherman said. “And there’s still a chance of them getting shot and no repercussions for anyone.”

Sherman said the death of Crutcher was particularly troublesome because he was a father of four.

“There’s not a lot that you can try to inspire a person when you say ‘Hey, we need black fathers to be in the community, to stay there for your kids,’” he said. “But they’re getting killed in the street for nothing, for putting their hands on their cars.”

Here's Sherman's statement in full:

I’m not going to answer any questions today and it’s no offense to you guys but I think the state of the things in the world today is very interesting.

You have players that are trying to take a stand and trying to be aware of social issues and trying to make a stand and put a spotlight on it, and they’re being ignored. Whether they’re taking a knee or whether they’re locking arms, they’re trying to bring people together and unite them for a cause, and I think that the last couple of days a couple of more guys have gotten shot and killed in the middle of the street, and more videos have come out of guys getting killed.

And I think people are still missing the point. The reason these guys are kneeling, the reason we’re locking arms, is to bring people together to make people aware that this is not right. It’s not right for people to get killed in the street.

I do a lot of community service. I go out in the community and try to help kids and try to encourage them to be better and to aspire to more. When you tell a kid when you’re dealing with police, just put your hands up and comply with everything – and there’s still a chance of them getting shot and no repercussions for anyone.

That’s an unfortunate time to be living, that’s an unfortunate place to be in. There’s not much you can tell a kid, there’s not a lot that you can try to inspire a person when you say ‘hey, we need black fathers to be in the community, to stay there for your kids, but they’re getting killed in the street for nothing, for putting their hands on their cars. And I think that’s the unfortunate place that we’re living in, and something needs to be done.

And so, when a guy takes a knee, you can ignore it, you can say he’s not being patriotic, he’s not honoring the flag. I’m doing none of those things. I’m saying it straight up: This is wrong, and we need to do something.