Pro Football Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams was in Ferguson on Friday. The former Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams defensive back wants to speak with the youth there and begin a conversation about the underlying problems exposed last weekend when an police officer shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown, setting off days of protests.
Williams is a pastor at the Spirit Church, located about two miles from the scene of this week's demonstrations. He's been actively involved with area youth through his church over the years, something he discussed during his Hall of Fame speech earlier this month.
"It's a crisis. And the word crisis has a dual meaning. Danger and opportunity."
His goal is to listen and get a better understanding of the issues facing the community, then confronting those issues in a constructive way and "create an environment for things to happen."
It's been a difficult week watching a place so close to home struggle. Seeing Williams on the ground in Ferguson made for a refreshing moment, a recognizable face who cares and is willing to use his influence as a positive force for change.
Other than a brief statement after practice this week from Jeff Fisher, the Rams have been silent on the issue of Ferguson, located less than 10 miles from Rams Park. Williams is not there as a representative of the team.
From the Spirit Church's Facebook page