Cleveland Browns star wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. were among the stars to join in a powerful video calling out the NFL for their response to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The group of prominent players combined to share what they want to hear from the NFL in light of the recent events that have highlighted police brutality against the African-American community.
“It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was murdered. How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players. What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?”
Each player then comes on screen and says: “What if I was George Floyd?”
And this is what the players wants to hear from their league:
“We the NFL condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We the NFL admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We the NFL believe Black Lives Matter.”
Other stars speaking out in the video included DeAndre Hopkins, Saquon Barkley, Chase Young, Deshaun Watson, Davante Adams, Ezekiel Elliott, Patrick Mahomes and Tyrann Mathieu.
NFL Issues Strong Stance, Commits $20M to Causes
The NFL has issued various statements in the days following the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s final minutes have been witnessed by millions of people through a disturbing viral video.
It shows now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee to Floyd’s neck and the reaction to the video has sparked outrage, protests and demonstrations.
The league’s strongest stance on the issue came on Thursday when it committed $20 million to address systemic racism.
“This is a time of self-reflection for all – the NFL is no exception,” the league wrote on Twitter. “We stand with the black community because Black Lives Matter.
“Through Inspire Change, the NFL, Players and our partners have supported programs and initiatives throughout the country to address systemic racism. We will continue using our platform to challenge the injustice around us.To date we have donated $44 million to support hundreds of worthy organizations. This year, we are committing an additional $20 million to these causes and we will accelerate efforts to highlight their critical work. We know that we can and need to do more.”
That being said, many brought up former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began protests against police violence and systemic racism by first sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
Kaepernick’s protest sparked a movement in the NFL, with multiple players following suit and the league even creating a policy in response preventing players from kneeling during the anthem.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said following his initial protest. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
It is widely believed that the protests cost Kaepernick his career and that he was blackballed by NFL owners.
Odell Beckham Issues Emotional Statement on Racism, Police Brutality
The video comes just one day after Beckham issued a strong and passionate statement on his Instagram calling for change.
“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,” Beckham wrote. “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.
“We need those in power to take action,” Beckham continued. “It’s begins with you all. Only then and ONLY then, can we even begin to heal as a country.”
Landry has also been vocal on the issue and made a passionate plea to his other Browns teammates to bring awareness to the topic.
“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 [expletive] don’t bother your soul, then [expletive] you.”