Following the murder of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, many around the world have made their voices heard about the racial injustices in America. That includes athletes of all sports, along with their respective teams and leagues.
However, some statements came across as disingenuous due to the vague language and misunderstanding of what the protests are truly about. The NFL released a statement Saturday expressing condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, but it didn't touch on the racism that black Americans are constantly faced with.
Frustrated with that notion, several players teamed up to release a video voicing what they want to hear from the NFL on the matter.
Posted on Giants running back Saquon Barkley's Twitter, the message featured some of the biggest names in the sport. Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr. and others all shared the common messaging of wanting the NFL to explicitly address the racism and problems the country currently faces. Redskins rookie Chase Young was also part of the statement.
The video begins with the players wondering what it will take for the league to seriously commit itself to change in the future, feeling the current statements were inadequate.
"What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?" the players said.
"What if I was George Floyd?" the players asked.
Those questions were followed up with the realization that their standings as professional athletes don't separate them from those who have been victims of police brutality.
"I am George Floyd, I am Breonna Taylor, I am Ahmaud Arbery, I am Eric Garner, I am Laquan McDonald, I am Tamir Rice, I am Trayvon Martin, I am Walter Scott, I am Michael Brown Jr., I am Samuel Dubose, I am Frank Smart, I am Phillip White, I am Jordan Baker," they said.
Then, the players submitted their call to action for the NFL. They will continue to peacefully protest, and demand the league shows support and solidarity right alongside them. No more cookie-cutter statements, but an admittance of past mistakes and accountability for the future.
"On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: 'We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,'" they said. '"We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.'"
A powerful and moving message, the stars of the NFL made one thing clear: It's time for the league to make real change. They will no longer accept the bare minimum, and instead, demand support and action.
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