Richie Hall speaks out on racism in Regina and the United States

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“He said, ‘No, you’re Richie Hall,’ ” Hall recalls. “Because of what I did (in football), he classified me as different than that other person, but I was the same as that other person. If I didn’t play football, he would be calling me the same thing. I felt very uncomfortable regarding his reasoning and I said, ‘Well, I just don’t care to be around you.’ It was one of those things where I wondered whether he heard what he was saying.”

In 2019, Hall became a Grey Cup champion for the fourth time. He was part of the Roughriders’ past three championship teams — in 1989, as a defensive back and punt returner, and in 2007 and 2013 as defensive co-ordinator.

Hall has made Canada his home since 1983, but is troubled about what is taking place in the United States, where he was born and grew up. Incidents like the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis and the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis., have escalated racial tensions in the United States.

“You’re always concerned regarding the reactions and the violence of it,” Hall says. “I’m happy regarding the awareness of it because what’s going on has been going on for a long time.

“I’ve always believed that no matter how bad a situation is, something good can come out of it. If this creates some great awareness regarding how a change needs to come, then I’m all in favour of it. You might not always like the way that you get there, but let’s make sure that we move forward and it serves some purpose.”