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Transcript: New Orleans wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders training camp interview - Thursday, Aug. 27

Sanders spoke with media at Saints Training Camp 2020

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders
Training Camp Video Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, August 27, 2020

Just your thoughts on the team's decision to wear the Jacob Blake name across the helmets and what do you feel like you guys are projecting by being able to do that?
"Yeah, I think it's a good start. But I feel like we got to do more as well. And so, Sean Payton, he called a team meeting last night and told us that we were going to put his name on a helmet. He also said that he's open for discussion of anybody bringing any ideas, of trying to do more as well. So I think that we're all going to get together and see if we can do more, do more than that as well, but I think it was a good start."

It's been four years since (Colin) Kaepernick took a knee before a game. But how frustrating is it? Or is it frustrating that four years later, we're still having these same conversations?
"Yeah, I think it's exhausting for me to keep having the same conversations over and over and over, and really not seeing any change, just keeps happening again and again and becomes exhausting. Because to be able to even use this platform that us athletes are on. It's amazing, but you keep talking about the same thing. Truthfully, you just want to live in a world or a nation in which you're not judged by the color of your skin, but by the continuity of character, like Martin Luther King once said. I'm over here talking to you guys and my job's truthfully to play football, but I have to speak on these issues and I have to talk about these issues and address these issues because, because of the platform that we're on. And it is a problem in America. I just hope that some type of change comes and I just got off the Rich Eisen show. I just told him how exhausting and draining it is that you put so much energy and so much emotion into it and then you think that change is going to come. Then four or five months later it happens again and again, a year later. And I'm sure in two years you're going to be talking about the same thing over and over. So for me it's like when is it ever going to stop and when is the change actually going to come and I pray it happens from a legislative point or from the government or something. I hope that they're listening and they're trying to make some type of change."

What are the conversations like with your, because you have a son, right? What are those conversations like?
"Yeah, my son knows. He walks to me and told me about George Floyd. And I kind of tell him as best I can. My son is six right now, as he gets older and older, I can really go into the deep with it. But I just want (him) to be a normal six year old and kind of shield him from that. I just feel like as a parent, if you go too deep into it, it's not good, you let them be a kid. My daughter's three (too young for discussions). So I just, I try to explain to him just a little bit, kind of like the whole Santa Claus is real situation. But as the older and older he gets, and at that point in time, I've definitely got to break him down to the history of America, what has come and what is still going on today, which is sad."

Was there any talk about shutting down practice today, did that come up among your fellow players?
"No, there was no talk. Not that I know of."

I was wondering what was going through your head when you saw what was going on with the NBA last night? And if this is maybe the most, I guess, impactful you've seen, I'm trying to think of how to word it. Is this the most change or ability to make change you've seen from athletes and their platforms in your lifetime?
"For me, when I saw it, it made me happy. But, the longer and longer I thought about it, I said, will they cancel their entire season? Because if they cancel the entire season, maybe it can bring about a change and show how serious it is. But if they go back to playing, in my head it's like, is that really doing anything? So LeBron (James) man, he's one of those guys that I look up to. I know that I just follow him on Instagram. I know he is reading books trying, trying to figure it out as well. And we all don't know what truthfully the right thing to do (is). But we all know that emotionally we are drained. We're drained of talking about it. We're drained of it happening over and over again. We're drained of trying to make a change, but change not coming. We're drained of it happening over and over again. We're drained, emotionally. Just emotionally drained. And it is sad to see it, because what a lot of people don't understand is you well, why are you drained? It is because, if you are in the same situation, that could easily be you in that situation. That could easily be one of my loved ones in that situation. You say, yeah, resist arrest, but it is like, at the end of the day, okay oh, yeah. He resisted arrest, he got in his car, but to be shot seven times in the back, that's just ridiculous. When there are three or four cops that could have tackled this guy to the ground. And if anybody says that should have happened in that situation, they are out of their mind. And so, that's the strangest thing, because every time I see that situation and say that could've easily been me, you know, that could've easily been one of my cousins, that could easily be one of my uncles and so (on). And the reason why I say that it is because it could have easily been me because I'm an African American in America. Which is sad to say, it seems just like, not all cops, but a majority of these cops when they see African Americans, I feel like they have no value in life, they don't value our life as much as they value a Caucasian or anybody else. That is just what I believe and what I have seen in terms of these videos and stuff and how they are just brutally murdered and just taking their pain or whatever it is out on us. It just goes to show that my theory's semi-correct."

I was curious what you're seeing, if any similarities between the Saints' defense in practice and the 49ers' defense you faced in practice, in your time in San Francisco for half a season.
"I wasn't at training camp with the 49ers defense. So, I really don't know. When I got there, we were already practicing (against the scout team). I wasn't even going against the (starting) defense. I didn't go against Richard Sherman, none of that in practice but, our defense you know, I was talking to our receivers coach, RC (Ronald Curry), he was just saying how much better each year, they're getting better and better. So I know one thing today, every time I catch the ball and the entire defense swarms to the ball and they're trying to bat the ball out. Sometimes I get punched in the stomach because they're trying to just poke the ball out. And it's five seconds, ten seconds after the play, they're going after the ball. So I know one thing, those guys man, they bring the energy and they fly around and so I'm looking forward to seeing if we could put it all together but I got a feeling we're going to be a pretty good team this year."

What have you kind of learned about Tre'Quan Smith since you've been here and just in general what's kind of the hard part about transitioning between inside and outside just technically as a receiver?
"Tre'Quan's a player, he's a quiet player but he's a player. He makes those plays and he just jogs back, he doesn't say too much you know, talk too much crap. But he just goes to work every single day, makes plays and goes home, wakes up and makes plays and goes home. And you know the transition from outside to inside in his offense, if you can play outside you can play inside, you're going to be able to, you know, stack up the catches and stack up the yards. And I think that you know, a lot of the guys, the receivers that they have, the majority of these guys can move inside and move outside. So I am looking forward to playing with the entire receiver core. Bennie (Fowler) has been balling and Tre's been balling. And I think we had a good day today. So we've got to just keep building off that."

How comfortable do you feel now in the offense since the last time we talked to you over a week ago and it seems like the last few days you have kind of really started to hit your stride and make a lot of plays, do you feel like it is starting to get a little bit more natural?
"Yeah and I think they're starting to design a couple plays and give me the ball. At first I was just taking the top off the defense and just allowing the tight end and the X to get open but, now they're moving me inside and moved me outside today. I play one rep at F in which they put me in position to make a play. And I am starting to like it a lot more. At first I was like dang I am just running, I am just running off, but the receivers coach told me, just be patient. We were just installing and now we got an entire install out. So, Sean P and the offensive coordinator and receiver coaches, they're coming together and drawing up plays for me to be able to get the ball so I'm loving it."

And just on the defense with all the safeties they got and the corners, you know those guys you're going against? How good is that secondary and how hard is it to get open against those guys?
"Those guys are good. (Marshon) Lattimore and (Janoris) Jenkins, form a tandem in which they are going to make some plays. I've been really surprised by Jenkins, just his feet. I ran a comeback, in the first couple days of training camp, I thought I was going to be wide open and this guy stopped on a dime, his feet are really good. And he stopped on a dime and broke up the pass and I was really surprised. I've never seen a guy cover that route, how I ran it. And so I'm looking forward to playing with both of them. I know that deeply from a secondary standpoint, we're going to be solid because we got two solid corners. And so I'm looking forward to it."

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