Jason Brown is maintaining a self-imposed curfew with America on edge right now.
“Five black guys that were found hung,” said the former Blackburn and Wales keeper. “They are trying to play it off of suicide but I don’t buy it.
“The rate of black people in America choosing to do that publicly in that way has been minimal.
“Now all of a sudden it is five. So the word on the street is that if you’re a black male, try not to be out by yourself after dark.
"So I’m not out after dark. When me and my partner are out, I’m like, ‘Babe, I think it’s time we head on home’. I just don’t want to take a risk.”
Since the George Floyd killing in May, the US has become a tinder-box, the epicentre of a global civil rights movement.
With more black men dying at the hands of police since then, 38-year-old Brown – who is coaching in California – remains fearful of being pulled over.
“As a black man it’s scary,” he said. “I go through a near-daily procedure with my fiancee to remember what to do if the police pull me over.
“The officers here have guns and you have to be very careful because they are very trigger happy. It’s a great country. I must say that because many people feel like, Well, why do you want to live there?
“But in terms of the race issue, it is really scary when a police officer appears behind my car.
"Real panic settles in and it’s like, ‘Please don’t pull me over. Please don’t pull me over!’ because just reaching for something – anything – could be fatal.
“I could say the wrong thing, antagonise the officer. And then they can just open fire. There was there was something that went on not far from where I live – a guy who was sleeping in his car.
“He didn’t even get to wake up because they put 20 bullets in him. That’s the reality for black men right now.”
In February another black man, Ahmaud Arbery, was fatally shot while out jogging. Three people have since been arrested.
Speaking to the @theconv3rsation podcast, Brown added: “I won’t even run in my neighbourhood now – and I don’t live in what I would call a racist neighbourhood. I just can’t.
"I choose not to take that risk just in case someone feels threatened by seeing a black guy running down the street and opens fire.
“I live in California, in San Francisco. I’ll have been here a year come August. Just knowing that people can go to a supermarket and purchase with their groceries, that’s a bit surreal.
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“In England you can be driving in your car, someone cuts you up, you pull up and they may say a few words. Here someone will pull out a gun.
"Then they claim it’s in self defence because you’re a six foot black guy and may come across intimidating.
“I was aware of myself in England as well because I knew that that was a factor there too. Many people who don’t know me, meet me and straight away think that I’m going to be the aggressor.
“I’ve lost count of the amount of times people met me and said, ‘Oh, I didn’t think you were going to be like that!’ and I’m thinking, ‘So how did you think I was gonna be?’.
"But the fact is, just your appearance can justify someone brandishing a gun and opening fire.
“It’s a great place to live. But you as a black person you need to know your role. You have to understand the way you are perceived. Try and step out of that lane too much, you can end up dead.”
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