On Wednesday, Beckham delivered a long and thoughtful statement on his Instagram on police brutality and social injustice. Here is what Beckham had to say in full on the topic:
“Recent events in our country have highlighted the social injustice that has occurred for too long. We all feel the pain of the victims lost who were sons, daughters, spouses, parents, family members, and friends to many. The unconscionable murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery along with the unanswered questions surrounding the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee have outraged us. Racism, police brutality and other abuses of power can no longer be tolerated. We demand that justice be served. The police officers who were involved in the murder of George Floyd should be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions. Adequate and consistent training for all officers on proper use of force should be required. We are ‘suppose’ to depend on police officers to protect us. When an officer abuses their authority to harm someone, the good officers (I kno there’s plenty of em) have a duty to intervene to protect that person whose being apprehended. If we want to deter the senseless killing of our people, there must be serious consequences for the actions of the officers involved, both through their actions and the others who failed to act in these situations. We need those in power to take action. It’s begins with you all. Only then and ONLY then, can we even begin to heal as a country.”
Beckham then revealed in his Instagram story that he had started a website selling shirts with the words, “I still can’t breathe” on the front. On the back it reads, “No justice, no peace.” Beckham said that 100 percent of all profits from the shirt, which is $25, will be donated to the Black Lives Matter organization.
“Like many other people around the world, I was heartbroken and extremely disturbed when I saw the video of George Floyd being murdered by police officers,” Beckham wrote in the About Us section of the website. “In an effort to do something to help the cause of ending police brutality, I wanted to help promote a T-shirt that sends a message that we demand justice for George Floyd and an end to police brutality.”
Odell Beckham Drew Criticism for Initial Tweets
Beckham fired off a series of tweets as the George Floyd protests revved up, arguing that silence on the issue did not necessarily mean you were part of the opposition.
“Continue to divide us and not unify,” Beckham wrote. “We’re tryna unify an entire nation, which we are far far from, but that’s the only thing that bothers me . The if u don’t speak up or ur silent ur against us etc. for me it’s a tough position actually a lose lose lose.”
It caught the ire of at least one professional athlete in Philadelphia 76ers star Tobias Harris, who called out Beckham for the take.
“Respectfully family, if you’re silent, we don’t know what side you’re on. And if we don’t know what side you’re on, it is safe to assume you’re on the other side,” Harris wrote.
Beckham later responded to Harris saying: “Can’t agree wit ya on that family. Gather information to do what’s best I wouldn’t just say something or post something on IG cause that’s the way our world works. Have to find out how I can do something to help. Because I wasn’t silent and said something and that obviously wasn’t enough. So yea I can’t agree wit ya. But I can understand . I want my voice to count or be heard. I ain’t never been the one to post some shxt just to post it to show someone else something. I do stuff on my time and when I want to and when it feels absolutely right.”
Beckham had been quiet on social media since the exchange, save for a few Instagram stories on his Call of Duty games.
Jarvis Landry Called on Browns to Use Platform for Change
Beckham’s teammate and best friend Jarvis Landry likely swayed Beckham to sit down and craft a thoughtful message on the topic.
During a conference call on Tuesday, Browns Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio revealed that Landry gave a passionate speech to his teammates on how to use their platforms during this time.
“Jarvis [Landry] came up and he spoke to the team for maybe 10 minutes yesterday and they just tried to tell us how we can use our platform a little bit better because I think the vast majority of people want to help,” Bitonio said. “They want to improve the situation. Jarvis was emotional when he spoke with the team and he just wants change. He wants you to be a part of it and really try and help.”
Landry has voiced on his social media channels that change needs to happen.
“We need [an] end goal!! We have stories that go on for thousands of years about the police brutality, racism, death!!! The protesters that’s out now are putting themselves in further danger and not without reason but what are we trying to accomplish??”
He continued: “If this shit don’t bother your soul, then [expletive] you.”