Former NFL running back Reggie Bush feels a big reason for the problem of violence in black neighborhoods, is a dearth of fathers.

According to the Institute for Family Studies, about 70% of black children were born out of wedlock in 2018.

In the aftermath of the murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles earlier this month, FS1 had a panel discussion on the debate show Speak For Yourself, on how to reduce violence in the black community. The panel consisted of Bush, former NFL receiver Greg Jennings, ex-NBA star Stephen Jackson, and host Jason Whitlock, all African-American.

“So to me, we’ve got to get back to the foundation at home with the parenting,” said Bush, a former USC star. “A lot of boys who I grew up with didn’t have their dads. A lot of guys I knew in the NFL didn’t have their dads growing up. So for me, I learned from a lot of the men through football. Football became that father for me because that is where other men there. The issue with that is I’m learning from other men who are just as broken as me.”

Whitlock agreed with Bush.

“If you don’t restore the family, it’s hard to correct anything, it’s hard to produce anything positive,” Whitlock said.

Bush said what drove him to be a great football player was resentment toward his absent father.

“My real dad was not in my life growing up,” Bush said. “The foundation of why I wanted to be so great on the football field was I wanted to make my dad jealous. That’s what led to this was resentment and aggression that I grew up with towards my real dad. And as I got older I realized my dad never had his dad in his life. My dad met his dad for the first time five years ago. My dad is 53-years-old. My biological grandfather, who I still haven’t met to this day, lived in L.A. this whole time.”

Jackson, raised by a single mother in Port Arthur, Texas, feels another part of the problem is “jealousy.”

“Another thing (that causes violence) – just jealously and hate,” Jackson said. “How can you erase that? When you have so many people with the ‘crab in the bucket’ mentality; they don’t want to see you with it. It’s a certain situation, they always say If you a successful you stay away from home, but as soon as you go home, you always get murdered. It happens like that a lot.

“There’s somebody there who sees you, grew up the same way you grew up, the same circumstances, but some type of way you had a little luck, God blessed you a certain way that didn’t bless them, and they are like,  “Okay, why did he deserve it?’ So if I see him right now, I’m jealous of him, let me take what he’s got because I’m that mad at my life and the way things are going on in my life, why didn’t I get those same opportunities? It’s just jealousy and hate in communities that are impossible to erase. We always talk about how much we love the hood, but the hood don’t love us back.”

Jackson still goes back to his old neighborhood, but not as much as he used to.

“I love the hood more than I’m afraid of the hood,” Jackson said. “Nothing can happen that will make me not go back, I love it that much. My brother died there, my grandmother died there, my dad died there. I will always go back because I’m not afraid to go back, but at the same time, I don’t go back as often, because I love my life, I value my life, I value being there for my kids.”

Bush was very thankful FS1 allowed them to have this conversation.

“I’m so thankful that Fox would take this leap of faith to even allow us to talk about this, because the only way I think things can change is if we have conversations like this with a platform like this,” Bush said.

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