Todd Gurley, Grady Jarrett on a Mission to Promote Change in NFL

Todd Gurley

Getty Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams.

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley and defensive end Grady Jarrett are on a mission to promote change for racial injustice in the NFL.

Gurley hosted an Instagram Live session on Wednesday night and ESPN’s Jalen Rose led a discussion on police brutality which resulted in the senseless killing of George Floyd and others. Rose also touched on the Black Lives Matter movement, voting, and lack of diversity in schools.

Gurley Pushing for Change in NFL

Rose asked Gurley if his celebrity status has kept from experiencing racial injustice. Gurley said, “Certainly not. At the end of the day, we’re still Black men in America.”

Gurley really put an emphasis on how bad the NFL needs to change and the lack of minorities, specifically blacks, in higher positions from coaching to owners and league executives.

“Being in the NFL, seeing everything that we go through in the NFL, a lot still needs to be changed,” Gurley said. “That’s why we’re trying to push up on the commissioner — you know, the whole Colin Kaepernick situation with him not being able to be in the league — there’s still a lot that needs to be changed.

“I feel like us players, as we’ve been coming together, dealing with the [coronavirus] pandemic and dealing with the George Floyd situation, there’s still a strong move to push. But it’s definitely a start. We’ve just got to keep pushing on, keep hounding the NFL to do better because it’s a large organization. We need to be able to push the league to do more for the Black communities.”

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Jarrett Plans on Taking More Than Just a Knee

Colin Kaepernick saw racial injustice a problem back in 2016 and decided to take a knee during the National Anthem to peacefully protest. He was eventually let go from the NFL.

Rose asked Jarrett if he has plans on taking a knee this season. Jarrett had already taken a knee in 2017 after President Donald Trump said NFL players should be “fired” for kneeling during the anthem.

“By the time I took that knee … I wanted it to be more than just a gesture,” Jarrett recalled. “I wanted it to be a commitment to myself to do more in the community and get more involved. I would say for anybody that’s thinking about [kneeling], don’t just do it because it’s the cool thing to do or now it’s a little more accepted to do, so I can do it just to fit in because this is what the people want me to do. If you do something, find out an organization that exists and go put some money behind it, effort behind it.

“I anticipate a lot more people doing social demonstrations during this year, whether it’s taking a knee or locking arms — a lot of different ways guys want to get the message across. I do anticipate seeing a lot across the league and [kneeling being] something that I’m sure our team, we will talk about how we want to go about it. … I just say put some work behind the actions.”

Several Steps the NFL Has Taken So Far

The NFL is already being proactive and making changes:

  • Earlier this week the league announced that players will be allowed to have decals on the back of their helmets bearing names or initials of victims of systemic racism and police violence.
  • The league has also dropped the “Redskins” name from Washington since it’s considered to be a racist slur and plans on coming up with a new name.
  • The NFL updated it’s Rooney rule to where the league must be considered a minority or a female for every open position or senior position.
  • And, of course, Rodger Goodell shared a public apology and began to reach out to players to discuss the issues after the league brutally ignored Colin Kaepernick.
  • Players will be allowed to peacefully protest this season without any penalty.

These are just a few changes being made and we’ll see more to come as players such as Todd Gurley and Grady Jarrett continue to speak up.

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