The police killing of Geroge Floyd has sparked a group of NFL players to come together to send an powerful video message to the league expressing their feelings about racism in America.
About a dozen players including Super Bowl LIV champion and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckam Jr., appeared in a 70-second video released on social media Thursday night (June 4), according to the Associated Press.
“It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered,” says New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas at the beginning of the video. The rest then join in asking: “What if I was George Floyd?”
They all go on to mention the names of Black men and women who died at the hands of police over the past several years and who have continued to raise questions about police violence, systemic racism, and racial inequality.
While the players in the video did not mention Colin Kaepernick’s original protest against police brutality, they did say they want the NFL to take a stand on racism, demanding a condemnation of “racism and the systemic oppression of Black people,” they said. “On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we the players, would like to hear you state: We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people.”
On Thursday (June 4), pro athletes also spoken out about controversial statements made by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in which he said he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," claiming that kneeling protests are an affront to the U.S. military.
But his teammate, safety Malcolm Jenkins, responded in a passionate video calling out Brees for not acknowledging the painful history of police brutality and the sentiment behind the protests around the country.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar Lebron James, who has also been vocal since Floyd’s death, responded to Brees’ comments on Twitter: You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of [the flag] and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those.”
BET has been covering every angle of George Floyd’s death in police custody, other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.