In the days that followed the killing of George Floyd beneath the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, a handful of prominent white quarterbacks spoke out on social media, condemning the act.
The Raiders’ Derek Carr, Eagles’ Carson Wentz, Bengals’ Joe Burrow and Titans’ Ryan Tannehill each advocated for greater compassion and social unity. Their voices directly conflicted with the silence of the NFL’s white quarterbacks four years ago, when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee to protest police brutality against people of color.
Curious as to what compelled these players to speak up last week after so many chose not to in 2016, I reached out to Carr for further comment. Here is the Las Vegas signal-caller’s response in full:
For years, we have all been taught to “just stay out of politics.” (When one side is so far one way and the other side is so far the other.) Not just as a white athlete, but all athletes in general. I think over the last couple of years, people have begun to break down these barriers by using their platform for what they believe is right.
Something I was always taught as an athlete was to keep your head down and be you when there is a major headlining story. I use my platform to preach all over the world, which is an honor and a blessing. But recently, it started to weigh heavy on my heart that it was time to stand up and say what I have been feeling for a long time, disregarding what anyone from any standpoint had to say or think about it. I felt in my heart this was the right moment to speak up, to not care so much about politics but instead speak truth.
I have been angered and heartbroken by any loss of life in the past, but now I feel that I am in a place where I can make a difference with my actions and not just my words. I’m working closely with teammates and higher-ups in the Las Vegas community to take actual actions and stride to make our country better.
My goal is simple, and that is to unite people. Nothing bigger, nothing smaller. Unity is how we will see real change occur! As a spiritual, God-fearing man, I believe that our country is dealing with major spiritual, heart and system issues. Therefore, I firmly believe the blood Jesus shed on the cross is the answer; not fighting and anger.
I feel the same way today as I always have. I want everyone to feel loved and welcomed. I want every life to be so precious to everyone. I want people to love their neighbors just as they love themselves. I want a genuine respect and unity for every life that lives in these United States and calls it home.
I want the fighting to stop. I want people to help people in need. I want to see people stop striving for power in politics and actually do what they say they were going to do. I want to see prayer back in schools. I want to see team sports be a place where all different walks of life come together for a common goal in our communities. I want to see children raised up loving everyone and not counting them out before they actually know them. That’s what I want to see.