San Francisco 49ers defender Arik Armstead recently claimed he was racially profiled when he was still in high school. Monte Pool of NBC Sports reported Armstead told his story on a Friday night episode of “Race in America: A Candid Conversation.”
Armstead said he and two other black teenagers were on their way to a friend’s house when the incident happened. The friend didn’t live too far away from Pleasant Grove High, which was the newest accredited school in the Elk Grove Unified School District. They were within a block of this friend’s house when Armstead said a cop got behind them and pulled them over.
He said the police officer asked them what they were doing in that part of town and then asked where they were going. The boys told the officer they were going to a friend’s house and even pointed to the place they were headed. The officer told them he wanted proof that’s why they were in the area and then told them he would wait until the friend they claimed they were visiting came to the door.
When the friend did come to the door, the officer asked him if he knew the boys. When he said he did, the cop was apparently satisfied and left.
“That was the situation that always stuck out to me, just being racially profiled,” Armstead said. “Plenty other instances, too, but that was the main one. Being 14, 15 years old, just trying to mind your business. Never been in trouble in my life. And you’re just going to assume that since I’m in this neighborhood, I don’t have the right to be here, that I have no business being here. You feel you can check my right to be in this neighborhood?”
Years, later, Armstead made it to the NFL and eventually signed a multi-million dollar contract with the 49ers. Not long after he signed that contract, he said he went shopping for a new house. He added he ended up buying one in the same neighborhood where he was pulled over in high school. He admitted on the show the incident might have played a part in his choosing to move there.
Armstead said he understands that because he’s a well-known player in the NFL, he might now have some privileges other people of color do not. He added that he’s probably protected, but he said he wonders if his family is ever going to get pulled over driving through that neighborhood.