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Maryland football player Ellis McKennie never thought of himself as an activist until his friend Jordan McNair died

Maryland football player Ellis McKennie never thought of himself as an activist until his friend Jordan McNair died

Ellis McKennie never thought of himself as an activist.

But the University of Maryland football player — who walked out of a meeting with his head coach in the aftermath of the death of his close friend Jordan McNair — told an Aspen Institute panel Monday that he now embraces that title and believes more student-athletes are beginning to speak out about social causes.

“I felt like I was standing up for my friend and doing right for his family, who deserved some kind of accountability for this loss of their son,” said McKennie, who grew up with McNair in Randallstown and helped recruit him to Maryland. “And I thought I was doing something on behalf of my teammates, who all...

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