BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots quarterback Cam Newton spoke to the media via video conference on Wednesday, and at the tail end of his 20-minute session, he was asked for his thoughts — as a person and as a father — on the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Newton said that he was moved by what Doc Rivers said about loving a country without feeling loved in return, but that he’s hopeful that such events can help lead to building unity.

“Man, it’s just disheartening,” Newton said. “Needless to say, what’s going on in this country of ours at times is extremely disgusting. And until we find a fix, I think more than ever we have to unify — one as much as possible. From the Black Lives Matter campaign, from 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 with things that are extremely blatant.”

Newton continued: “So, it becomes hard, being a father. It becomes hard, knowing that yeah, you know what your day job is, but yet we have to use our platform to raise awareness for issues like this. And while we’re going through so much — from COVID-19, this is an election year, with voting and making everybody aware to vote — and having issues that still are pertinent in our society and in our community and still not seeing things done, you just have to stay focused and impact the things that you can impact the most.”

Offensive lineman Shaq Mason, who will be tasked with blocking for Newton this season, said that conversations about social justice are common within the Patriots’ locker room.

“Social injustice is a sad thing in our country and it runs deep,” Mason said Wednesday. “Especially in our locker room where we have plenty of minorities, that’s definitely a topic that we all discuss and we’re pushing for change and better things to come for our country moving forward. But as far as that goes, it starts with us taking a stand and willing change and promoting it.”

With seemingly everyone in sports trying to figure out the best way to respond to the latest incident, the 31-year-old Georgia native said he’s doing what he can to try to make whatever progress is possible on a regular basis.

“So for me, I do try to bring awareness from the environment that I’m into each and every day, from my children, from having open discussions in the locker room — not just with all Black players. With Caucasians as well or whatever their race may be,” Newton said. “I think that’s the start that we all can impact change in our own right.”

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