New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson captivated the world last year when he penned a viral Facebook post in the midst of furor over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, proclaiming that sin is the basis of humanity's problems and is "the reason we are racist."
Just one year later, Watson has released his first book, "Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race — and Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us" — a project that he's hoping will inspire more thoughtful reflection about issues pertaining to race relations.
Watson, a Christian, believes that individuals must confront the sin that is in every human being's heart in order to truly mend wounds.
"We all have the seeds of racism in our hearts," he told The Church Boys podcast. "Humans have an issue of default. It's called sin that points us towards hating people, and being selfish, and being jealous and making others subservient to you, simply because they look different."
Listen to Watson discuss his views on race relations and his new book below:
It was this sentiment that drove the viral nature of his November 2014 Facebook post, which he published after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally show Brown.
In it, Watson balanced his anger as an African American with the revelation that no one but Wilson and Brown truly know what unfolded. The message's candid, honest and emotional nature truly resonated with the masses, as he called for unity.
“SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn,” Watson wrote in his post. “BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind.”
Benjamin Watson #89 of the New Orleans Saints before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 9, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
These were the sentiments that the NFL star reiterated in his interview with The Church Boys, calling on Christians to lead the charge on unity.
"Christians should be the premiere example of what it means to love like Christ," he said. "The distinctions that the world places on us fade away when we talk about our brotherhood and sisterhood."
Watson continued, "It's a shame that we have many of the same feelings and preduces and biases [that non-Christians have]."
He said that "Under Our Skin" is an extension of sorts of his viral Ferguson post, calling for open and honest conversation and intentional relationships with individuals who might look different.
In the end, Watson contends that there must be a "change of the heart." Find out more about "Under Our Skin."
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: