Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon said he's not sure if the Ravens will participate in peaceful protests during the national anthem this season and criticized Roger Goodell for his statement, which he saw as too little too late on a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon.
The call was his first time speaking with the media since signing his franchise tag tender, but that took a backseat as Judon described the team’s process for what the next steps of social justice will be.
“We are having very deep conversations about this because that’s real life for all of us,” Judon told reporters on Monday. “It’s very present and with all our platforms, we want to get ahead of it. We want to put an end to racism. Whether that be on the football field or in classrooms or wherever it may be. It’s really no room for it in today’s world.”
Judon also had strong words for Goodell and his statement about supporting player protests — which included the commissioner saying the phrase “Black Lives Matter” from earlier this month that many viewed as too little too late.
“Black lives should always matter,” Judon said. “I don’t think it’s something when one person says it it’s like, ‘Oh, now it makes sense.’ It’s something that’s been making sense. My life mattered since August 15, 1992, and I feel like everybody else as a black person, they knew their life mattered when they were put on this earth. It’s not when Roger Goodell came out and said ‘Black lives matter’ now everybody can say it, we should’ve been questioning why Roger Goodell didn’t say, ‘Black lives matter’ when he was born. Or when he became commissioner, or when he was re-elected commissioner.”
Judon was also critical of the way the league reacted to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling when he was in the league. Just four years later, as public opinion has begun to sway about his silent protest, Judon said the league should’ve been proactive about the protest at the time.
“When Kap came out and said it’s not about the Star-Spangled Banner, it’s not about the song, it’s not about the troops, it’s about how my people are being treated, there shouldn’t have been pushback,” Judon continued. “It should’ve been like, ‘OK, let’s help this man and his cause.’ That was just his way of expressing it. He did it very peacefully, he didn’t make a ruckus about it, he didn’t take pictures of himself and he didn’t publicize it, but when he was asked about it, he explained himself in a matter which people should’ve understood.”
Just under a week ago, and after Goodell’s statement, the Ravens released a video titled, “Ravens united. Black Lives Matter.” In the video, numerous Ravens players, coaches and front office members spoke out about police brutality and systematic racism in the United States.
Ravens owner Steve Biscotti said recent videos of Black people, specifically Ahmad Arbery and George Floyd, being killed made him “sick and angry.”
“It was the most despicable thing I’d ever seen,” Bisciotti said at the outset of the video.
Ravens united.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) June 12, 2020
Black Lives Matter. pic.twitter.com/3KAl3dFSrQ
“I felt that it was huge that our owner got up there and said what he said, and the players that said what they said and how it was made,” Judon said. “It’s guys from a lot of different backgrounds, you know? But we all want the same thing. In that video, you’ve got people that went to HBCU’s, you’ve got people from Texas, from Memphis, from Michigan. We all see the same thing. We all see human beings.”
As for what Judon’s plans are moving forward, he’s unsure. He doesn’t want to make the movement an individualized issue. Instead, he said, it’s on a collective group of people to figure out the necessary steps.
“I’ve been out, I’ve been doing work, but you know, I’m going to continue to let the people that’s out there speak and speak for themselves,” Judon said. “It’s not a me thing, I don’t have the right answers. It’s a collective group of people that need to come together and talk to people. They might have the right answers, but I don’t have the right answers. So I’m not going to thrust myself into the front of this movement acting like I know exactly what to do.”
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