Forte takes ur­lacher to task on Twitter

Chicago Sun-Times - - BEARS BEAT - Patrick Fin­ley

The Bears — and their for­mer play­ers — con­tin­ued to dis­tance them­selves Fri­day from Hall of Fame line­backer Brian Ur­lacher’s so­cial-me­dia posts. In the In­sta­gram posts, he de­meaned NBA play­ers protest­ing Ja­cob Blake’s shoot­ing and liked an im­age call­ing for the re­lease of Kyle Rit­ten­house, the 17-year-old An­ti­och res­i­dent ac­cused of killing two in Kenosha, Wis­con­sin, on Tues­day night.

The most pow­er­ful re­ac­tion came from for­mer Bears run­ning back Matt Forte, who, in a se­ries of tweets to­tal­ing more than 400 words, said he was pray­ing for Ur­lacher.

“To be a public suc­cess and a pri­vate fail­ure is no life to live,” Forte wrote. “I still have love and re­spect for [Ur­lacher], as well as all peo­ple, and we can lov­ingly dis­agree — but not when it comes to the op­pres­sion of peo­ple and racism.

“It’s ev­i­dent that you can spend the ma­jor­ity of your life with and around black [peo­ple] and still not un­der­stand the strug­gle. Even while play­ing on the same field and be­ing in the same locker room. Be­cause true un­der­stand­ing doesn’t come from read­ing a book about it, watch­ing a doc­u­men­tary or an episode of ‘Black-ish.’

“It comes from the ac­tual ex­pe­ri­ence of racism and in­jus­tice, or self-hon­esty in say­ing, ‘You know what, I’ll prob­a­bly never un­der­stand but I’m will­ing to lis­ten and humbly, with com­pas­sion, put my feet in the op­pressed shoes and walk through it with them as I try to un­der­stand the in­equal­ity and mis­treat­ments of black and brown peo­ple since the first slaves touched U.S. soil.’ ”

The Bears said in a state­ment late Thurs­day that the posts “in no way re­flect the val­ues or opin­ions” of the fran­chise. On Fri­day, for­mer team­mate Charles Till­man tweeted that he had a pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion with Ur­lacher. For­mer Bears wide re­ceiver Rashied Davis told the “Dan Bern­stein Show” on The Score that he reached out to Ur­lacher on Thurs­day, and they agreed to talk soon.

“I don’t want to sit here and beat up Brian be­cause I still care about him,” he said. “But I do feel be­trayed

‘‘It’s ev­i­dent that you can spend the ma­jor­ity of your life with and around black [peo­ple] and still not un­der­stand the strug­gle. Even while play­ing on the same field and be­ing in the same locker room.’’ matt forte, re­act­ing to for­mer bear brian ur­lacher’s so­cial-me­dia posts

by all of that.”

On Thurs­day, Ur­lacher wrote on In­sta­gram that Pack­ers quar­ter­back Brett Favre “played in the face of ad­ver­sity” af­ter his fa­ther died, but “NBA play­ers boy­cott the play­offs be­cause a dude reach­ing for a knife, wanted on [a] felony sex­ual as­sault war­rant, was shot by po­lice.” Ur­lacher’s ac­count also “liked” a photo of Rit­ten­house that said “pa­triot lives mat­ter” and ad­vo­cated for his re­lease. ✶

GETTY IM­AGES

Matt Forte (left) said he was pray­ing for Brian Ur­lacher, his for­mer team­mate.

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