BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Among the divisions of culture and violence, it appears some common ground can be found in sports, and perhaps that is some ground on which something more can be built. At least that's what Former NFL star, Warrick Dunn, Alton Sterling's son, Cameron, and Officer Matthew Gerald's widow, Dechia, seem determined to show a national television audience.
Alton Sterling died at the hands of Baton Rouge Police during a confrontation in July, which sparked fierce protests across the city. Officer Matthew Gerald was among three officers gunned down a few weeks later. Dunn's mother, Officer Betty Smothers, was shot and killed on duty in 1993. But Dunn, Sterling, and Gerald were all present together at the Saints facility in a visit documented by the NFL Network.
The Saints tweeted out a preview earlier this week.
"People can unite and put their differences aside. We do it all the time on the football field," said Warrick Dunn in the video. "I understand the issues of a young black man in the community, but I also know there's a lot of great police officers."
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton is also shown addressing all three before the team. "There's three things you all have in common. You're from Baton Rouge, you're Saints fans, you lost loved ones to gun violence," said Payton.
Payton quickly joked that Dunn, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons, did not count as a Saints fan. Dunn laughed and said he's a fan of football.
According to Dunn's publicist, Lisa Brock, Dunn organized the meeting to "help start or create some healing in Baton Rouge." With the loss of his own mother at a young age, Dunn is especially sensitive of the challenges families face when a loved one falls victim to violent crime.
"He felt like Baton Rouge was there for him when he faced his very toughest times and he wanted to do something for families that were in his exact position, facing unthinkable loss," said Brock.
The NFL Network feature on the visit aired Sunday, November 13. The full special can be viewed here.