Kyle Long rebukes ‘injustice to humanity’ in Charlottesville hometown
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BOURBONNAIS — Bears guard Kyle Long noticed how his teammates reacted when they learned during the weekend where he was raised.
‘‘It kinda leaves a bad taste in their mouths, thinking that one of their guys is from Charlottesville, where they see all these rallies and stuff happening,’’ Long said Sunday.
It hurts Long, too. His hometown under siege, Long defended Charlottesville, Virginia, and offered his condolences for the lives lost during a weekend thrown into chaos by a white-nationalist rally.
One person was killed and 19 were injured when a car sped into a throng of protesters who were demonstrating against the ‘‘Unite the Right’’ rally Saturday. Two state troopers were killed in a helicopter crash Saturday night.
Images spread throughout the world of torch-wielding white supremacists marching through Charlottesville, which was targeted because of its plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
‘‘Regardless of where it’s happening, injustice in the world we live in, in any place, is injustice to humanity,’’ Long said after practice. ‘‘And it’s a threat to the freedoms we have.
‘‘Obviously, it’s a small percentage of people involved who are blatantly in the wrong, and we need to do our best as good folks and continue to outnumber and express our opinions and act accordingly when given the opportunity to.”
Long’s parents — father Howie is a Pro Football Hall of Famer-turned-Fox Sports analyst and mother Diane was a lawyer — moved their three boys from California to the Charlottesville area when Kyle was 5. He later starred at St. Anne’s-Belfield School.
Long keeps Charlottesville close to his heart.
‘‘Hopefully we can continue to do the right thing as a whole,’’ Long said. ‘‘Obviously, there’s gonna be people that don’t follow the same suit. Don’t be those folks.’’
Long’s older brother, Chris, attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and was selected No. 2 overall by the Rams in 2008. Chris was outspoken about the riots, calling the situation ‘‘insanely frustrating’’ on Twitter.
‘‘Evolution will favor the self-assured . . . not man babies with tiki torches or people playing ‘militia,’ ’’ Chris wrote.
‘‘Chris does a really good job articulating his views, be it politically, socially, economically,’’ Long said. ‘‘I try to stay out of the stuff, but the one thing I can say is that Charlottesville and the families affected are definitely in our thoughts and prayers.’’
Long said he spoke with Chris, who now plays for the Eagles, and determined that everyone in their family was safe back home.
‘‘Coming from Charlottesville, it’s a quiet town,’’ Long said. ‘‘The loudest it gets is on Saturdays at Scott Stadium [at the University of Virginia]. I’d say it was shocking to see that, but there’s bad things that happen all the time. Like I said, prayers to those who are involved.’’
Long stressed the protests don’t reflect Charlottesville or most of those who grew up there.
‘‘Don’t let a few bad apples ruin what is really true about Charlottesville and that area; there’s good folks there,’’ Long said. ‘‘I grew up with really good people. I’ve got buddies in the police department. I’ve got a lot of family and friends out there.
‘‘It’s rough. It’s a strange time. Like I said, the more we can do right to each other and act accordingly when presented with the situation, then the better off we’ll be.’’
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.