As their hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, reels from a weekend beset by violence stemming from a series of white supremacist rallies, NFL players Chris and Kyle Long said the community will emerge stronger.
"Coming from Charlottesville, it's a quiet town. The loudest it gets is on Saturdays at [University of Virginia's] Scott Stadium. I'd say it was shocking to see that, but, you know, there are bad things that happen all the time and, like I said, prayers to those who are involved," said Kyle Long, an offensive guard with the Chicago Bears.
"Hopefully we can continue to do the right thing as a whole. Obviously there's going to be people that don't follow the same suit. Don't be those folks."
Neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacist groups staged a rally Friday to protest the city of Charlottesville's plans to remove a Robert E. Lee statue from a park. On Saturday, a 20-year-old man drove his car through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and wounding at least 19 others. Hours later, two Virginia state troopers were killed when the helicopter they were flying in as part of a large-scale police effort at the rally crashed into a wooded area outside the city.
Chris Long earned All-American honors at Virginia and had his number retired by the Cavaliers. Now with the Philadelphia Eagles, he tweeted his disgust on Saturday for the white supremacist marches.
Insanely frustrating. Evolution will favor the self assured... not man babies with tiki torches or people playing "militia"— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 12, 2017
"I just think it's terrible. It's not how I was raised. It makes me emotional to talk about, but I pray for those guys, the people that were injured," he said.
It's sad what's going on in Charlottesville. Is this the direction our country is heading? Make America Great Again huh?! He said that🤦🏾♂️— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 12, 2017
"I hope people not from this area of the country understand that the people that were marching in and around [the university] and Charlottesville, they're not from there," Doolittle said Sunday. "These aren't people that represent the school or the community. This was a rally where people came from other parts of the state, other parts of the region. Because that area, that town, is an incredibly accepting and diverse and embracing community."
Zimmerman said: "It is not reflective of the city or the people there. But as far as the stuff, I don't really want to get into all that kind of stuff, but it's sad. You hope that at some point we can kind of move on from these kind of things, but you don't know."
ESPN's Jeff Dickerson, Tim McManus, Sarah Barshop and The Associated Press contributed to this report.