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Cam Newton, Shaq Mason address shooting of Jacob Blake during media availability 

Over the weekend, Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old father from Kenosha, Wisc., was shot in the back multiple times by police officers, leaving him paralyzed and fighting for his life. After a summer of protests in name of Black men and women killed by police officers, like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain, athletes are continuing to speak out about the injustices in our country.

The Bucks made a stand, striking Game 5 of their series against the Magic. The Detroit Lions canceled practice on Tuesday, meeting media members outside of the stadium with signs and speeches. Clippers Coach Doc Rivers addressed the media with an emotional message, and during media availability on Wednesday, Cam Newton and Shaq Mason reflected on the social and racial injustices that continue to plague the country.

"Needless to say, what's going on in this country of ours at times is extremely disgusting, and until we can find a fix, I think more than ever, we have to unify and become one as much as possible," Newton said.

As a father and a Black man, Newton said the using his position to talk to his kids and to others is crucial to ensure change happens. Awareness is first and foremost, and this year has brought so many issues to the forefront.

"From the Black Lives Matter campaign, from the social injustice, bringing awareness with that, and just everybody becoming more aware of certain things and not necessarily turning their ear or turning their face from things that are extremely blatant. It becomes hard being a father. It becomes hard knowing, yeah, what your day job is," Newton said. "But yet we have to use our platform to raise awareness for issues like this. While we're going through so much, from COVID19, this is an election year with voting and making everybody aware to vote and having issues that are still pertinent in our society and in our community and still not seeing things done. You just have to stay focused and impact the things you can impact the most."

Mason said conversations have continued in the Patriots locker room, and they will continue to advocate for justice and change.

"It runs deep, especially in our locker room ... We're pushing for change, and better things to come for our country than before," Mason said. "As far as that goes, it starts with us taking a stand, wanting change and promoting that."

This is something Newton echoed, as well.

"I do try and bring awareness from the environment that I'm into each and every day – from my children, from having open discussions in the locker room," Newton said. "Not just with all Black players – with Caucasians, as well, or whatever the race may be. I think that's the start – that we all can impact change in our own right."

To learn more about what the Patriots are doing to create change, please visit Do Your Part.

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