Ryan Howard details encounter with Philly police officer

94WIP Staff
June 03, 2020 - 8:44 am

Former Philadelphia Phillies champions Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins just fellow former African-American Major League Baseball players joined The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal during a Zoom conversation to discussing the death of George Floyd, racism in America, and more. 

Howard, now 40, detailed a specific incident he had with a Philadelphia police officer. 

"It goes back to the whole white privilege thing, to where they cannot understand what it’s like to have to be in that situation," Howard said via The Athletic. "I actually had a situation in Philadelphia back in ’07, ’08. We had just gotten home from a road trip. It was like 3 or 4 in the morning. We’re leaving the park. I live downtown. I’m in my Escalade. I’ve got the big rims on it, 26-inch rims, windows tinted.

Everybody knows what the police car lights look like. I’m like, “OK, let me act right because this cop is right behind me. I’m going to try and let this dude pass. We pull up to the same light. He pulls up next to me. I’m going left. He’s going right. The light turns green, boom, my signal is on, I’m doing everything proper. I make my left turn. He sits there at the light. Two seconds later, boom, he makes the left and follows me. Pulls me over and asks for a license, registration, the whole nine yards.

I said, “Officer, can you tell me what I was doing?” He said, “Well, I ran your plates and nothing came back.” I was like, “Isn’t that a good thing? I didn’t speed, didn’t run any lights. I wasn’t doing anything crazy, but you felt the need to pull me over.” Then another police officer pulled up, a black police officer. He went over to the dude and said, “You know who that is?” He came over and talked to me, the dude wound up leaving.

I said, “Look, man, if I’m breaking a law, I don’t care who I am, what I do, that don’t matter. If I’m running a light or not signaling and you pull me over, that’s fine. But when he tells me he pulled me over because he ran my tag and nothing came back what am I supposed to do?” The black officer said, “Yeah, that dude has done that a few times.” He ended up getting reprimanded by his superiors. But when you have people like that working in that capacity, what can you do?"

Rollins, 41, was a clubhouse leader of the 2008 World Series champions and talked about that experience as a black player. 

"As a player, you’re always trying to keep that clubhouse even-keeled and focused on the game," Rollins explained. "But there are plenty of times you’re going out there with something else on your mind. And having a couple of guys on the team is always good, so you can bounce that off them so you don’t have to let it explode throughout the clubhouse if somebody does something that rubs you the wrong way."

Another former Phillie, now analyst Doug Glanville, was also on the call along with Dontrelle Willis, Torii Hunter, and LaTroy Hawkins. 

You can check out the full conversation here.