Twelve year veteran tight end for the New Orleans Saints Benjamin Watson places presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson in the pantheon of great civil rights leaders.
The 2004 New England Patriots first round draft pick recounts that watching the 2009 movie Gifted Hands, a story about the famed neurosurgeon’s life, inspired him. Watson contends that Carson deserves the same respect as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Recently, Watson got a chance to meet Carson in person and said in a HuffPost Live interview that he is glad Carson now has a chance to express his ideas to the public. Watson’s interview with HuffPost Live was also carried on Sporting News.com.
“I’d known him since I was a child, obviously he’s a world-renowned surgeon, and just having the chance to sit down and speak with him and just meet him as an icon, number one, and as somebody I respect for being the best ever in his field. It was an honor to meet him,” he said. “I’m glad he’s putting his ideas out there, I’m glad he’s speaking to the public. I think many of his policies and ideas that he’s been speaking about are making people think.”
Watson shares with Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick the highest score on the Wonderlic, an intelligence test administered to NFL hopefuls, among active players. In a famous Facebook essay following unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, because of a grand jury’s refusal to indict police officer Darren Wilson for killing local teen Michael Brown, Watson grabbed attention by writing that “ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem.”
The versatile tight end, who played for Duke and Georgia in college, laced up cleats for the Patriots, Browns, and Saints in the pros. Two-thirds through the 2015 campaign, the 34-year-old Watson enjoys one of his best seasons. He has already caught 46 passes for 551 yards and three touchdowns. The durable gladiator possess one Super Bowl ring which he earned his rookie season and played in another for the Patriots in 2007.
The well spoken Watson has a few ideas of his own that he shares in his new book Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race–and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us. The book addresses controversial issues of religion and race, including his thoughts on hot issues such as Ferguson, Charleston, and the Confederate flag.