Gridiron star keeps focus on Queens DA race

NFL player Devin McCourty moderates a DA candidates forum on May 1 at the Museum of the Moving Image. Photos courtesy of the Players Coalition.

NFL player Devin McCourty moderates a DA candidates forum on May 1 at the Museum of the Moving Image. Photos courtesy of the Players Coalition.

By David Brand

After moderating a forum for candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Queens District Attorney last week, star NFL defensive back Devin McCourty said he plans to remain engaged with the race to replace Richard Brown, who died Friday.

McCourty, an All Pro corner and a three-time Super Bowl champion, is an active member of the Players Coalition, an organization founded by NFL players that focuses on criminal justice reform and improving community-police relations.

“We’ve had to find ways to have an impact,” McCourty told the Eagle after the forum. “I live in New Jersey and this is a great opportunity to get to know the race and bring a spotlight to it.”

Public defender Tiffany Cabán, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilmember Rory Lancman, former Judge Gregory Lasak, attorney Betty Lugo, former Queens prosecutor Mina Malik and former Attorney General’s office prosecutor Jose Nieves are all running in the June 25 Democratic primary, but McCourty said he is not interested in endorsing a specific candidate.

McCourty (right) moderated the forum on May 1, which featured six of the seven candidates for Queens DA: public defender Tiffany Cabán, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilmember Rory Lancman, attorney Betty Lugo, former Queens prosecutor Mina Malik and former Attorney General’s office prosecutor Jose Nieves.

McCourty (right) moderated the forum on May 1, which featured six of the seven candidates for Queens DA: public defender Tiffany Cabán, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilmember Rory Lancman, attorney Betty Lugo, former Queens prosecutor Mina Malik and former Attorney General’s office prosecutor Jose Nieves.

Instead, he said he wants to bring more attention to issues like bail reform, sentencing and declining to prosecute low-level offenses. The Players Coalition funds national organizations that promote reform policies and offers a matching fund program for local nonprofits, McCourty said.

“We want to allow people to better themselves,” he said.

McCourty said he and other Players Coalition members — including co-founders Anquan Boldin, a former Jets wide receiver, and Malcolm Jenkins, a safety for the Eagles — work to expand the justice reform movement among his peers and ti educate more members of the public. He said the Players Coalition has received interest from various NBA and NHL players, as well as other celebrities.

“I’ve had teammates come to court watch with me. They’ve watched me testify,” he said. “These are issues players are very passionate about [and] and I’ve been able to speak about what we’re doing.”