Carson Wentz doesn’t often speak out about social or racial issues but the Eagles’ franchise quarterback made a notable and worthwhile exception on Thursday evening, condemning institutional racism in the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on Monday.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis on Monday night by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time while Floyd was handcuffed.
Wentz, who grew up in North Dakota, about six hours from Minneapolis, tweeted the following heartfelt and thoughtful message on Thursday night:
Been thinking about the George Floyd situation and thinking of the words to say & coming up empty. All I know is that the institutional racism in this country breaks my heart and needs to stop. Can’t even fathom what the black community has to endure on a daily basis.
Being from North Dakota, I’ve spent a large part of my life surrounded by people of similar color, so I’m never gonna act like I know what the black community goes through or even has gone through already. I’ll never know the feeling of having to worry about my kids going outside because of their skin color.
However, I do know that we are all equal at the foot of the cross and Jesus Taught us to value others’ lives like they were our own — regardless of skin tone.
So, this might see like a ramble — and perhaps it is. I don’t understand the society that we live in that doesn’t value all human life. It’s heartbreaking and disturbing. My prayers go out to every man, woman, and child that has to endure the effects of racism in our society.
Shortly after Wentz’s statement, Zach Ertz sent out his own statement on the situation.
With LOVE, pic.twitter.com/SVfBYQkAPa— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) May 28, 2020
The video of the incident shows Floyd on the ground, handcuffed, as a police officer kneels on his neck, even after Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The four police officers involved in the incident have been fired but as of Thursday evening had not been charged with any crimes.
The Vikings released a statement on Wednesday:
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life that occurred Monday evening just blocks from our stadium. Everyone in our community deserves the right to feel protected and safe. Our thoughts are with the George Floyd family and all individuals who have been affected by this tragedy."
Wentz and Ertz’s speaking out is also notable, frankly, because they’re white athletes. Many minority athletes have spoken out since Floyd’s death but having star white athletes join them is very important.
Back when Malcolm Jenkins was raising his fist during the National Anthem to demonstrate against social and racial inequality and injustice, Chris Long began to put his arm around Jenkins in a show of solidarity. Long, at the time, told Jenkins that more white men needed to be allies in the fight.
Wentz and Ertz positioned themselves as allies on Thursday night.
While Wentz has been very philanthropic during his four-year NFL career, he has mostly steered clear of any social, racial or political statements. He made a worthwhile exception here, using his platform to call out something that is clearly wrong, disturbing and sadly not unfathomable.
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