Ex-NFL player: 'Joyous day' of Juneteenth should be time to show 'how America stands up against racism'

Former NFL player Jack Brewer told "The Story" Friday that the celebration of Juneteenth, which marks the anniversary of the day in 1865 when slaves were ordered freed in Texas, "is a joyous day."

"All my life we celebrated Juneteenth," Brewer, a Texas native, told host Ed Henry. "Usually, when I talk to African-Americans across the country, a lot of people don’t even understand, or didn’t before now understand, the significance of this day.

"You know, my great-grandfather was a sharecropper," Brewer added. "He was the first black man, actually, to come into my town [of] Grapevine, Texas ... so this day always reminds me of that, reminds me of my history. So, for a long time I've always hoped and dreamed that this would actually be a national holiday, so I'm pushing for that."

Brewer went on to say that Juneteenth is a time for Americans to reflect "not just ... on the horrible institution of slavery, but reflect on how far we've come. I mean, this is truly a day we should all be celebrating ... I'm just excited to see that the nation is finally getting around this holiday."


Brewer, who played in four NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, added that he envisioned Americans using Juneteenth "as a time to show the world where America stands, how America stands up against racism, against slavery, against oppression and really shows us where we're going for the future, and that's celebrating the freedoms of all Americans, all colors, all shapes, sizes and colors."

"This is a time for reconciliation," Brewer continued. "We shouldn't be avoiding the sins of our past, we should be talking about them and actually healing from them ... This is not a time to have more divisiveness ... It's not about identity, it's not about race, it's actually [about] bringing us all together."