Following the senseless death of George Floyd, Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback Matt Ryan is taking action by donating $500,000 toward a GoFundMe fundraiser he established, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure.
Ryan has set a goal of raising $2 million for the members of the black community in Atlanta.
Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25, 2020.
The inexcusable death was filmed and the video went viral which led to protests and riots calling for justice.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder.
“It was really difficult to watch,” Ryan told ESPN after seeing the Floyd video. “Basically it was like, ‘This can’t happen anymore. That isn’t acceptable. This has to stop.’ That’s where my head was at.
Matt Ryan Explains Why He Took Action
“Last week I made a commitment to listening and learning, and one of the messages that hit home for me was the difference between reacting to a situation and responding to a situation,” Ryan said in a statement. “For far too long, I have reacted to social injustice with empathy and silent support but failed to follow through with active support. I feel the time has come to RESPOND. For ALL of us to respond.
“I see my city hurting, which is why I’m starting a fundraiser to help improve conditions for people of color in the city of Atlanta. … Over the next few weeks, months I’m going to listen to the needs of the black community and get guidance on how I can be most impactful. I’m going to get input from local grassroots organizations as well as community leaders who are committed to making change.”
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Ryan Says White Teammates Need to Do More
“We’re at a point where it’s no longer good enough to silently or quietly tell your teammates, ‘I’ve got your back.’ That hasn’t worked. It hasn’t changed anything,” Ryan told ESPN.
“I think that time has come. It’s time for people to not be silent on issues. I can’t stay silent on it anymore. I don’t know the right things to say. I can’t put it into words. But I want to let people know that I’m supporting. And I’m going to try and educate and listen the best I can to people who know this situation better than myself, and to try and be empathetic and follow through to make an impact.”
Ryan said his inspiration came from Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms who spoke to the team on a zoom call earlier this week.
Ryan’s Instagram Post
Ryan will never know what it feels to have darker skin but he vowed to listen and learn “with all humanity and compassion” to those who do.
The MVP quarterback emphasized that the “least” people can do is use their voice if nothing else.
“My heart goes out to all of those who loved George Floyd, and all those who have been impacted by similar tragedies,” Ryan wrote. “I know that I cannot fully understand the depth and complexity of these issues because of the color of my skin, which is a sad testament to all of the work we have left to do. I know I am only one man, but I also know I am committed to doing what I can. That commitment includes listening and learning with all humility and compassion. It is the least I can do. IT is the least WE all can do.”