Anquan Boldin Says Social Strife Prompted His N.F.L. Exit

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y — A deadly, racially charged conflict in Charlottesville, Va., prompted Anquan Boldin to reassess his priorities and led to his decision to leave the Buffalo Bills and retire after 14 N.F.L. seasons.

In an interview Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Boldin said he was “uncomfortable” with how divided the nation was and wanted to dedicate his entire focus to humanitarian and criminal justice causes.

“I always felt like football would be my passion, football would be the path to a lot of things,” Boldin said. “But just seeing the things that transpired over the last week or so, I think for me, there’s something bigger than football at this point.”

He then clarified that he was referring specifically to what happened in Charlottesville on Aug. 13, when a counterprotester was killed during a rally involving neo-Nazis and other right-wing groups.

“Do I think I can solve all the problems that we have in this country?” said Boldin, a 36-year-old receiver. “Of course not. But I think I have a duty to stand up and make my voice heard and be a voice for those who don’t have a voice.”