Matthew Stafford made some big statements this offseason regarding where he stands in the ongoing conversation regarding race in America, and that continued last weekend.
Stafford, along with plenty of his Detroit Lions teammates, took a knee before Sunday’s Week 1 opener. It was a bold statement by the quarterback right in line with plenty of his others from the offseason, and it caught the attention of his teammates, specifically safety Will Harris.
As Harris said, it only brought the team closer to Stafford to see him continue to share his emotions in a meaningful way.
Lions S Will Harris on Matthew Stafford taking a knee for the anthem with some of his teammates last week: "That's my quarterback. That's my guy."
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 16, 2020
Harris expanded on that thought in his interview with the media:
“We’ve had endless talks and really really meaningful conversations, not only now but when were came back as a team on Zoom. We’ve been keeping the conversation alive. We’ve been re-iterating that any time someone is feeling something, get it off your chest. You can feel the support and feel the buzz running through the halls. To see that, that’s the physical side of seeing his emotions toward the rest of his teammates. Obviously you can tell he really cares. We’re just behind each other and supporting each other especially during trying times like this. So it was great.”
The team has appeared more unified than ever on all fronts heading into the 2020 season and that is the good news. In order to get over something like last week’s defeat, the Lions will need every inch of those good feelings toward one another as well as the positivity.
It’s just another way Stafford is stepping up and leading in 2020.
Matthew Stafford Revealed Georgia Donation
Stafford along with his wife Kelly have pledged $350,000 to the University of Georgia to help kick-start a social justice program for student athletes at the school. They were joined by Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and his wife Mary Beth, who donated $150,000. Together, the amount reaches $500,000.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford and wife Kelly, along with Georgia HC Kirby Smart and his wife Mary Beth, have endowed $500k to a social justice program supporting UGA student athletes. Both the Staffords and the Smarts were student athletes at Georgia. pic.twitter.com/8xTAvr2nnQ
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 14, 2020
While complete specifics have not been revealed on what the donations will serve to fund at this point, it is said in the statement that the donation will help student athletes, coaches and staff in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice at the university. More specifics will be revealed at a later date with regards to the actual plan.
It’s clear the Stafford family wanted to get involved in helping matters at their alma mater, and with this donation, that’s been done in a big way. It will be exciting to see how the Stafford’s gift helps in the future.
Kelly Stafford Apologized to Colin Kaepernick
Stafford, on the heels of a major donation along with her husband Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford, took time to explain her thinking on Instagram and as she said, she had a lot to reflect on and learn about in the last few years as things have played out.
Here’s what Stafford wrote in her post:
“This is something that Matthew and I have been thinking about and talking about for several months now.
When Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, I had strong feelings about it. Even when he kept saying it had nothing to do with the flag or military, I didn’t listen. I kept not listening to him or anyone else and let the political rhetoric persuade me that him kneeling was disrespectful to our military.
Over the past several months, I have opened my ears, mind and heart and it has opened my eyes to see how wrong I was and for that I am sorry.
This systematic racism is not going away unless we ALL work on it by working on ourselves and those around us. It’s time for everyone to do their part to help end this system.
Matthew and I thought this was a good place to start. We are proud to be a part of this program and we will keep fighting to end this social injustice. Black Lives Matter.”
With their donation, the Stafford family is putting their money and actions where their mouth is. It’s very refreshing to see, and excellent that someone could admit they were wrong previously. Certainly, for that the Stafford family deserves major credit.
The support hasn’t gone unnoticed from members of Stafford’s own team.