Khari Jones says he received death threats while he was the quarterback of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers because of his interracial marriage.
The topic of racism was raised with the Montreal Alouettes head coach during a video conference call with reporters on Tuesday after he sent out a tweet early Tuesday morning.
Jones was asked if he was ever a victim of racism.
Jones, entering his second season as Alouettes head coach, said the threats came in the form of letters that remain in his possession to this day.
“I received death threats because my wife is a different colour than me,” Jones said. “And we had police officers staying at our house, kinda patrolling our house while I was away at away games. And there were a series of letters and I still have those letters. And It’s just a reminder that things aren’t always great. It could have been just one person, but one is still too many.”
Jones is Black and his wife, Justine, is white.
This comes after a wave of protests across the United States after cellphone video captured the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, while he was being arrested by police in Minneapolis, Minn.
Jones, 49, played quarterback for the Bombers for parts of five seasons (2000-2004) and enjoyed his best CFL campaign in 2001 with the Blue Bombers.
He was named the CFL’s outstanding player that season after leading Winnipeg to a 14-4 regular-season record and Grey Cup berth.
Jones also said he and some friends were wrongly arrested by police, who had their guns drawn, in California in the 1990s in what Jones added was a case of mistaken identity.
“I grew up around a lot of racism and no major issues,” Jones said. “But yeah, me and my friends — I think it was in college or after college. We were put on the ground, handcuffed, and they drew their guns. And it was a case of mistaken identity. But we called it at the time — being Black while walking.”
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