Several of the most prominent stars in the National Football League posted a video demanding the league condemn racism and admit it was wrong to silence protesting players.
The video comes after the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes, after Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Organizations around the country, including the NFL, shared statements of support after Floyd’s death.
However, some people viewed the NFL’s statement as insincere, after quarterback Colin Kaepernick faced backlash for kneeling during football games to protest police brutality and the oppression of Black rights.
“It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered. How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players? What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality? What if I was George Floyd?” the players ask in the video.
The NFL stars then take turns saying the names of Black people who have died during incidents involving police officers.
“I am George Floyd. I am Breonna Taylor. I am Ahmaud Arbery. I am Eric Garner. I am Laquan McDonald. I am Tamir Rice. I am Trayvon Martin. I am Walter Scott. I am Michael Brown Jr. I am Samuel Dubose. I am Frank Smart. I am Phillip White. I am Jordan Baker,” they say.
Some of the players in the video include Patrick Mahomes, Odell Beckham Jr., Tyrann Mathieu, Ezekiel Elliott, Jarvis Landry, Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Jamal Adams, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas.
“We will not be silenced. We assert our right to peacefully protest. It shouldn’t take this long to admit. So, 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. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter,'” they say.
The video comes after New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized for saying he’d “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag.” His comments prompted a few responses from NFL players and NBA star LeBron James.