ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Protests by some NFL players during the national anthem have sparked debate, and while many people have shared their opinions online, one Bills fan went a step further. He wrote a letter to Bills Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.
CJ Long says he wasn't surprised when Alexander contacted him on Twitter after getting his letter in the mail, he says he was excited.
The two met at Spot Coffee in Orchard Park for an hour Tuesday morning. Long says he was excited to talk about their difference of opinion and come up with ways to heal the community.
Long told 2 On Your Side that he believes in free speech, but he comes from a military family and he didn't think it was appropriate to protest during the national anthem.
He says they talked about graduation rates, education, and racial injustice.
We didn't hear back from the Bills Tuesday when we asked if we could interview Alexander about this, but we talked with him a week ago at a community outreach event at the Belle Center in Buffalo.
"We wanted to go out here and be proactive, and serving the community, give back to the young people, and also be eventually able to talk to some of the public officials in Buffalo, as well, and just try to attack the problem holistically, and start to get things changed, and certain communities, and just bringing people together," said Alexander.
"We had discussions about, kind of, there's an end point where we're talking about racial injustice and police brutality, which was one of the things that they protested about, but we tried to take a step back and say what can we do to improve community policing? What can we do to try to affect schools so they have the funding that they need to provide students with books, after school programs so that they have stuff to do as opposed to getting into trouble when they go home, and that type of thing. So, it really centered around problems that face the community, but what type of steps we can do to address them," said Long.
The two plan on meeting again, and they plan on coming up with ways to bring the community together. Long said that could involve dinners with law enforcement officers and more events that bring Bills players into the community to meet with children and teenagers.