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Former Bucs’ running back Warrick Dunn pleads for peace in Baton Rouge

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Few people have the perspective of former Tampa Bay Bucs‘ running back Warrick Dunn when it comes to violence of Baton Rouge.

Dunn’s life was shaped with violence in that city. His mother, Betty Smothers, was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. He grew up raising his younger siblings. Years later, he visited prison to speak to the man who killed his mother.

“My heart breaks for the families and law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge who have lost loved ones,” Dunn said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I have been in similar shoes — it will change their lives and leave them reeling with questions for years to come. It is a shame. So many officers who are out there on the front lines have tremendous heart for what they do. These acts of violence don’t solve anything and if my voice can add to the movement to stop it — then I’d consider it a good thing.

“I struggle emotionally to understand why and how police officers are being targeted the way they are.”

Baton Rouge has been unsettled since Alton Sterling was killed by two white police officers earlier this month. Three police officers were killed Sunday.

“I support law enforcement,” said Dunn, who also played at FSU and with the Atlanta Falcons. “I also support the community of Baton Rouge because they were there for me and my family. If I could have any effect, I’d ask the community to stop the violence, to cool down and come together to figure this out.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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