FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Sheldon Richardson grew up in St. Louis, seven minutes from riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri. He watches the news on TV and sees places he once frequented, burning to the ground. The entire situation triggers mixed emotions. He's troubled by the horrific scenes, but at the same time he understands the groundswell because, he said, he has been the victim of racial profiling.
"I mean, it's sad to see," the New York Jets' defensive tackle told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "I don't want to say it's necessary, because it's not, but sometimes ... you know, I know the St. Louis police people. Some good, some bad. There's just a lot of ... it's just a lot, a lot to deal with.
"I don't want to pick sides or nothing like that, but it's crazy. I've seen both sides of it. I've seen my folk act a certain way and I've seen the police get beside themselves with their badges. I've seen both sides of it.
"I've been racially profiled before and all that, just being young and in a car and in an area I'm not supposed to be in. In high school, you don't know too much about the law. If they don't have a reason to pull you out of the car, you don't have to get out of the car. I came across some good guys, too. I was speeding and they wouldn't give me a ticket.
"Like I said, I play both sides of the fence. It's dangerous and all that, people telling me the police officer [Darren Wilson] might end up getting off free. I hope that doesn't happen."
Wilson allegedly shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, fueling riots in the streets.
Richardson's ultimate hope is that "it dies down." His parents still live in St. Louis and he has friends all over the city, he said.
"Pretty serious, man," he said. "Just keeping the faith, praying, hoping my family is OK and hoping those protestors are doing just that -- protesting and not trying to loot or nothing like that. I don't know too much. Whatever CNN has on is pretty much what I'm getting."