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USF’s KJ Sails organizing ‘unifying walk’ Saturday in Tampa

The Bulls cornerback invites all local college, prep and youth sports athletes and coaches to attend.
USF cornerback KJ Sails, father of a 2-year-old boy, has emerged as one of the Bulls' most visual and vocal team leaders.
USF cornerback KJ Sails, father of a 2-year-old boy, has emerged as one of the Bulls' most visual and vocal team leaders. [ USF Athletics ]
Published Jun. 4, 2020
Updated Jun. 4, 2020

The local protests condemning police brutality and racial injustice could possess a hearty USF representation Saturday.

Bulls senior cornerback KJ Sails, a vocal and visual team leader who starred at East Bay High, has announced via social media that he’s organizing a “unifying walk” Saturday at noon starting at 1108 N. Franklin St. in downtown Tampa, and ending a half-mile away Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.

“I’m asking that all of my USF Athletics family including administration, staff, coaches and my fellow student-athletes (attend),” Sails wrote.

Related: Racism in Tampa boiled over 50 years ago into Central Avenue riots

“I’d like to also invite the University of Tampa Athletics department and student-athletes, all of Tampa Bay’s youth sports organizations and athletes, and all high school athletes to join me as we show the world what unity is supposed to look like.”

Shortly after Sails’ announcement, a number of USF coaches and staffers, including athletic director Michael Kelly, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr. and women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez, had tweeted they would attend.

“Count me in,” men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory tweeted early Thursday afternoon.

Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church is located in the community where Martin Chambers, a 19-year-old African-American, was shot in the back by a white police officer and died. Police were chasing three suspects following the burglary of a Tampa photo shop.

Related: USF's KJ Sails embracing life as defensive stalwart, and dad

His death prompted three days of protests, with fire and looting ravaging the black entertainment district along Central Avenue. The Tampa Bay Times recently recounted Chambers’ death and the immediate fallout in this story.

Sails said one of his family members witnessed the shooting.