HOUSTON -- Texans nose tackle Vince Wilfork has an important message this week, and it has nothing to do with the Texans' upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins. This weekend he'll be returning home with a heavy heart.
When he goes to South Florida, his home state, he'll first visit the family of Corey Jones, a close friend who was killed by a plainclothes police officer on Sunday in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
"We’re working hard to figure things out," Wilfork said. "We’re going to continue until we get justice. That’s how it is right now. Sometimes we have a platform that we can use for a certain purpose. This week, this is my purpose.
"... It’s going to be going through my mind until justice is served."
Jones, a 31-year-old musician and the younger brother of former NFL receiver C.J. Jones, was waiting with his car, which had broken down off Interstate 95. A plainclothes police officer in an unmarked car approached him, and police say Jones drew his gun. The family's lawyer said that Jones did not know the man who approached him was a police officer and that Jones never fired his gun. The officer shot Jones three times. Jones' death has spurred rallies in South Florida and drawn national attention.
"Right now [there's] still stuff coming out in the media about what’s going on," Wilfork said. "We just have to let it play out. But at the end of the day, you have somebody’s child, you have somebody’s family member that’s dead. And we have to deal with that. ... Only person who knows what happened is that cop and Corey. And he’s deceased. Are we going to get the true answer? We don’t know. We’re going to search and we’re going to dig until we get the true answer of what’s going on."
Wilfork stressed that he doesn't think all police officers are bad. His best friend is a policeman, and he has a Homestead Police hat in his locker. He said he tells his children to be respectful of everyone, but especially when dealing with law enforcement, whether they are right or wrong.
"We see a lot of this going on in society, but especially when it affects you personally, when it’s your own family member, that’s for me to be in the spot that I’m in, it just gives me an opportunity to speak about it," Wilfork said. "I’m not bashful about speaking about it. I have tons of respect for law enforcement. I have friends who are police officers, cops. I have nothing against them, but at the same time you’re dealing with somebody that was shot dead. We have to figure it out as a society. Not just this case, but the cases that have been going on for a while now. We have to try to figure out a solution. I think everybody needs to be held accountable. Plain and simple."