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Former Patriot Ben Watson speaks at Boston Common event: ‘We want justice’

Ben Watson speaks to the crowd at the Boston Pray event on Sunday on Boston Common.
Ben Watson speaks to the crowd at the Boston Pray event on Sunday on Boston Common.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Former Patriots tight end Ben Watson spoke Sunday at an event on Boston Common held by UniteBoston, a Christian organization in the city.

Watson, a devout Christian, spoke about justice and equity in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25.

“Whether it’s your experience or not, treating people with the kindness that you would want to receive ... justice. Now, we talk about that word a lot, right?” Watson said. "Justice simply means giving people their just due, whether that’s protection or whether that’s punishment.

“Justice is like equity. It should be blind. We’re here because we want justice. What we’ve seen has made us upset and rightly so.”

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Watson played for the Patriots from 2004-09 and again in 2019, helping New England win Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. After Saints quarterback Drew Brees last week criticized NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem — for which he later apologized — Watson accepted Brees’s apology.

“My initial thoughts on the comments were: I know Drew. We’ve had this conversation before. Even though I wasn’t on the team with him in 2016 . . . I remember this happening and I remember him saying the exact same thing, so I wasn’t surprised,” Watson said on a podcast with Devin and Jason McCourty. "A lot of people were taken aback by what he said. I totally understand that because of the atmosphere we’re in right now. I spoke to him. We had a long conversation. He was really beat up about it. He was very remorseful not necessarily for his stance about the flag, but for being tone-deaf when he said it. And for not being able to bring the conversation back to where he could show the empathy that I know that he has.”

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