A member of the Calgary Stampeders is keeping a close eye on the unrest in Ferguson — a suburb of his Missouri hometown of St. Louis.
For weeks the small community has been mired in turmoil in response to the death of a young black man named Michael Brown.
Defensive back Keon Raymond says he is trying to keep focused on football, but his mind tends to shift to the violence in Ferguson when he steps off the field.
He says his grandmother and other friends have gone to stay with family elsewhere.
"It's sad the type of situation this is right now and, you know, I'm all the way up here and my family having to go through such hard times you always want to make sure you are there for your family," he said.
Raymond says Ferguson is a small community with family stores and schools. Demonstrators are still protesting today, but the rage behind those heated nightly street battles seems to be dying down.
"It's kind of turned into a bit of a war zone right now, and I hate to say that because of the tragic young man's death," said Raymond, adding it's been hard to watch on television.
"I've seen pictures of the National Guard coming in.... I would never think of that in the city I grew up in and the city that has made me the man I am today."
He says people have every right to be angry about the death of Michael Brown but hopes people can take a non-violent approach.
"They have every right to be angry, but I don't think to this extent, so I have to make sure my family is OK and continue to ask people to pray for my city," said Raymond.