Jimmy Garoppolo Speaks on Lessons Learned From 49ers Teammates in 2020

GETTY Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on October 20, 2019 in Landover, Maryland.

2020 has seen many players speak on social justice and change, and the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are no different.

From players like corner Richard Sherman to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne Jr., various 49ers have spoke publicly about the murder of Minneapolis, Minnesota man George Floyd, broader social justice topics and how the COVID-19 pandemic is playing a factor.

The latest in these talks has come through the first episode of “Subject to Change,” which saw Garoppolo, Sherman, kicker Robbie Gould and defensive lineman Arik Armstead sit down with Steve Wyche to discuss race and police brutality in America.

Subject to Change: Race and Police Brutality in AmericaIn the first episode of Subject to Change, Steve Wyche moderates Richard Sherman, Jimmy Garoppolo, Arik Armstead and Robbie Gould in a conversation about race and police brutality in America and how can we evoke change. #BlackLivesMatter #SocialJustice Subscribe to the San Francisco 49ers YT Channel: bit.ly/2E2VgFJ For more 49ers videos: bit.ly/2U9wau9 For more 49ers…2020-07-08T22:35:39Z

Garoppolo spoke at length about his Illinois background, and how he’s become aware that his experience in the suburbs is not the same as others.

Coming from the middle-class suburbs of Chicago, grew up with mostly white people and the experience of growing up in that compared to [Sherman,] growing up in Compton, it’s very different.

So, I’ve been hearing that we should have these tough conversations see what other people wear, where other people come from, how they were raised, and having the conversations that we’ve had in the past couple weeks… I never had that talk, I never knew that was a talk.

Garoppolo Explains How Football Has Helped Him Grow

One of the most beautiful things about football and sports in general is how it brings people together. While that sometimes means coming together to jeer at opposing teams, there is always a deep sense of unity both in a locker room and in the fandom.

Some of what Jimmy G talked about was how football has not only brought him community through sport, but showed how football opened up his perspective to other experiences.

It’s really an eye-opening thing to have those conversations, to see what other people experience. You get caught up in your own head thinking that we had the same experience and grew up the same way, it’s just not like that. Football is one of the unique opportunities that we get to have all these different people coming from different backgrounds, different places in the country and really coming together as one.

Garoppolo attended Rolling Meadows High School before attending Eastern Illinois, never going far from his roots before the start of his professional career with the New England Patriots.

On Teaching Younger Generations and Addressing Older Ones

The conversation continued as the four and Wyche explained their various backgrounds and differences, at one point coming to the topic of age playing a factor.

After Armstead talked on the subject, Garoppolo said that he and the defensive lineman had discussed the topic before, and the quarterback explained his perspective on the matter.

Some people, especially older generations, they can be hard-headed, stuck in their ways. ‘It is what it is’ type of thing. But I think dealing with the younger generation, teach them what’s going on in the world, different lifestyles that people are raised in and really just putting it together that way, I think that starts the younger generation, that’ll just carry it’s way through as they get older and older. If you teach them while they’re young, it’s the norm for them.

Jimmy G went on to say that he was raised in a family that did condemn racism and the teaching he wants for young people is what he received, and that he was open to hearing about others’ experiences and learning more about social justice because of that upbringing.

READ NEXT: 49ers Receiver Preparing for Important Role in 2020 After Injury

Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.

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