"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."
These are things the NFL has never come out and blatantly said. And these are the three requests brought to the forefront by the league's brightest stars in a video uploaded across several athletes' Twitter pages on Thursday night.
Michael Thomas, who has been a major media presence as of late due to the controversial comments made by his quarterback, Drew Brees, started out the video by recalling the brutal and atrocious murder of George Floyd. Following him are Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, DeAndre Hopkins, Ezekiel Elliott, Chase Young, and several more of the NFL's most recognizable figures, asking the league to listen to their voices and bringing up a question that should never have to be asked.
They ask a question that's so jarring, so tragic, so frustrating, so gut-wrenching... it's hard to put it into words. They ask a question that I don't understand as a white person, one that I can't contemplate, one that I will never fully be able to feel internally. They ask a question that every single black American has to ask themselves given the current social situation and the way our country has been operating for decades, for centuries.
"What if I was George Floyd?"
And then, one by one, the group of players pay tribute to several of the named victims to show that they're right by their side, fighting for what they were unable to experience.
"I am George Floyd," says DeAndre Hopkins, and the rest of the group follows suit. They are Breonna Taylor. They are Ahmaud Arbery. And they are Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, Michael Brown Jr., Samuel DuBose, Frank Smart, Phillip White, Jordan Baker, and the rest of the countless victims of police brutality, systematic oppression, and deep-rooted racism that has brought the country to an uproar.
Athletes are important voices at a time like this. Well known NFL figure Tony Dungy, in the video at the top of the page, says that NFL stars need to use their sphere of influence in order for change to occur, saying that they "have a big role... and we can step up and be part of the solution."
And in this video, this group of NFL stars does exactly that. They've pointed to the problems. They've asked for change. They've directly called out the atrocities, paid tribute to the victims, and directed their attention toward those who can facilitate a change.
They've done their part. Now, it's time for everyone else to do theirs.