Falcons’ Safety Shares Important History Lesson From Selma March

Ricardo Allen

Getty Ricardo Allen #37 of the Atlanta Falcons.

For the first time ever, people from all different backgrounds, races, and statuses are sharing their voices across multiple platforms without any consequence or fear of losing their jobs in hopes of change in America.

Atlanta Falcons safety Ricardo Allen shared his reaction with ESPN and opened up about his concerns after watching the video of a white Minneapolis cop kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, which slowly led to his death.

“I don’t see it as happening to just one person. I keep seeing it as a replay of what has happened hundreds of times,” Allen told ESPN’s, Vaughn McClure. “…But over and over, when you keep seeing this kind of thing happen to black men, it makes you pretty mad.”

Floyd’s tragic death sparked the memory of when Allen and Grady Jarrett attended the 53rd anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama back in 2018.

Bloody Sunday

McClure described the historical event, which in the end, led to progress:

On March 7, 1965, a group of around 600 protesters, led by civil rights activist and current U.S. Rep. John Lewis, attempted to walk from Selma to Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, in a peaceful demonstration for black voting rights. The group was confronted at the bridge by state troopers, who charged with billy clubs, tear gas and whips. Lewis suffered a skull fracture, 17 others were reportedly hospitalized and more than 50 suffered lesser injuries. Television cameras captured the violence, which caused a national outcry.

The events of “Bloody Sunday” inspired two subsequent marches from Selma to Montgomery, led by civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. Only the third march was completed without interference. The events were instrumental in the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibiting state and local governments to deny citizens equal rights to vote based on race.

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Passing Down History to the Next Generation

Allen was able to gain perspective and a lot more knowledge of the past and how hard African-Americans had to fight for equal rights and are continuing to do so today.

“That’s something I want to be able to pass down to the next generation; to spread light to folks to know [the right to vote] wasn’t always like this,” Allen said.

Allen plans to continue to share the history of the Civil Rights Movement and what he’s learned along the way with his kids and others in hopes of change and a better understanding of why African-Americans are anger and doing what they’re doing right now.

“I’m always for education because when you just get out and jump in and start talking about everything too fast, one of the things that’s going to happen is you’re going to get discredited,” he said. “You’ve got to try and educate yourself as much as you can. I don’t think I know everything, but I know that I’m trying my best to help the cause.”

Allen Applauded Matt Ryan

Allen is encouraging his white teammates to speak up on the movement. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been taking action and even went as far as starting a fundraiser for Atlanta’s black community.

“Matt’s our top dog. For Ice to show the support and that he’s got love, it’s really just an acknowledgment that he understands,” Allen told McClure.

Allen also said he will support the kneeling during the National Anthem if “it’s something that we’re all together on.” He’ll even do a handstand if he has to but ultimately, he wants everyone to come together and do the same in support of the same cause.

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