The women in Ryan Anderson’s life had given him no choice.
This was an important time, they had told him, and there was no better opportunity than the present to make his voice heard.
So after the Washington Redskins played their Thursday night game in Dallas in Week 13, the rookie linebacker traveled to his home town of Daphne, Ala. And there, under the watchful eyes of his loved ones, he filled out an absentee ballot for the special election to fill the state’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.
On Tuesday, Anderson felt a sense of pride as he watched the results.
Doug Jones narrowly edged Republican nominee Roy Moore to become the state’s first Democratic senator in 25 years.
“I was happy,” Anderson said during a quiet moment at his locker Wednesday. “I was shocked. I didn’t think he stood a chance. Just because of the state and the tradition of how it usually is.”
The 23-year-old said he never was “into politics,” adding that he didn’t vote in last year’s presidential election. But this particular race hit home for Anderson. “My grandma, mom, aunties, they all felt it was important for me to go out and vote,” he said. “A lot of people fought for that right. And I never really did, so I took advantage of it.”
And after seeing the election results Tuesday night, Anderson drew one conclusion about his home state.
“A lot of people are ready for change,” the University of Alabama alum said, smiling.
“It was good to see that people actually went out and did it, and voted for the right person. I don’t feel like Roy Moore was fit for the job anyway, so I didn’t want to see [him get elected]. Just to see people come together and go out and vote, it was good.
“A lot of people are happy, man. Even some old teammates from Alabama, you see them posting about it on the internet. Everybody’s happy about it.”
More than 48 percent of Alabama residents voted for Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women, including one who was 14 at the time of the alleged sexual encounter. Anderson admitted he was surprised by Jones’s small margin of victory (1.5 percentage points), considering the allegations against Moore. But the rookie cautioned against making broad generalizations about his home state.
“You have different people everywhere you go. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great place,” Anderson said. “You’ve got a lot of good people in Alabama, despite what people may think about the racism and everything down South. It’s not like that everywhere. Where I’m from, Daphne, Alabama, there’s a lot of good people. Of course you will have some people who don’t like you for this or that in certain places, but for the most part, they’re loving people.”
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