Tyron Woodley Speaks on Hometown of Ferguson, MI
Tyron Woodley recently sat down with Steph Daniels from Bloodyelbow.com to discuss a wide range of topics, including the Rory MacDonald fight, his ATT teammates, and his opinion of Bellator MMA’s new boss, Scott Coker. During the course of the interview, more sensitive matters came up, namely the confusing and highly controversial state of Woodley’s hometown, Ferguson, MI. Below is Woodley’s account of how he feels Ferguson should be seen, and the energies that he feels have always been around.
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Stephie Daniels: Your hometown of Ferguson has been caught up in a fair amount of racism, police brutality and plain old hatred. What are your thoughts on the situation there?
Tyron Woodley: We’ve seen rioting, police brutality, the KKK has been here, Jesse Jackson has been here. Monks have flown in from India, recording artists, and more. It’s a big topic right now. It’s a hot topic. I would just prefer the city where I grew up and spent 20 odd years of my life to be a showcase for guys like me. I have a buddy who is a Grammy award winning composer, and another that’s an engineer who works on missiles. I’m in the top of my division in the world in my sport.
We have overcome all the violence and distractions and circumstances that lie in that community. We found a way to make it. That’s a story, but people don’t want to hear that. That’s not news to them. They want the drama and negativity, and it’s just unfortunate that some people are just trying to get exposure from it.
Some of the people that were rioting and looting weren’t even from that community. They actually traveled from other towns to steal and tear up the city that they don’t even live in. It’s so close to home that everyone wants to ask your opinion on the topic. It was actually distracting for me in this last fight with Kim, and I’m just thankful I was able to perform so well considering I have family and friends out there in the middle of all this.
Stephie Daniels: Have you ever experienced police harassment?
Tyron Woodley: You know, not just in the city of Ferguson, but in the entire St. Louis area, there is profiling, unnecessary traffic stops…I’ve had buddies that were stopped and got roughed up and slapped around by police. They’ll put pieces of phone books in their shirts and beat them up without bruising them.
This is not new. I was in high school and we went to a fair downtown. The police cornered us and put us in a circle saying, ‘We heard there was an altercation.’ We told them that we had just arrived and hadn’t been in any fights.
They didn’t want to hear what we had to say, so they packed us up and took us to the station, beat my friends up, held us for hours. They let all but one of us out, and wouldn’t let us talk to the one that got beat up that was still in the jail. He looked like he got hit with a bat and they wouldn’t let us communicate with him.
Now granted, from the other side of the coin, there are kids that are murdering and killing each other, African-Americans killing African-Americans, whites killing whites; it’s all the same thing, we’re killing each other. If you’re killing someone the same skin color as you, then why are you gonna try to blow up the situation if somebody else does it?
The fact is, some kid got killed that didn’t have a weapon on him. Did he provoke it? Did he attack an officer? Did he reach in the car and grab a gun? Did he run away? Did he have his hands up? Those are the facts we need to find out for sure. All the other underlying issues, racism, profiling, police brutality, these things have been happening in Ferguson since I can remember. We need to evaluate ourselves as a community and the police force needs to be supervised better, because this has been an issue for a very long time.