Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — The turmoil in Ferguson is a two-hour drive from Columbia, but it’s hitting home for some Missouri football players. There are 18 players on the team roster from the greater St. Louis area.
Sophomore cornerback Aarion Penton has family currently living in Ferguson-Florissant: his mother, Kimberly; his stepfather, George; and his 4-year-old brother, George III. He said his grandparents also stay there.
“I talk to them every day and make sure they’re OK,” said Penton, who attended high school at C.B.C. in St. Louis.
Penton said his family has not been participating in the protests and has not suffered any property damage.
“They’ve just been going to work,” he said, “and when they’re not working making money, they’re back at home making sure the family’s safe.”
Penton said it hasn’t been a distraction for him at camp.
“No, not at all. I’m just thanking God that I am here, so I’m staying out of trouble and focusing on the right things,” he said.
Added Penton: “I think the city by itself is pretty sad and a little angry at the same time. But in my eyes, I really don’t know what happened, but the way that the city is handling it, it’s real sad.”