The last few days have been nothing short of chaotic. Just as we thought the world was beginning to settle down amidst the decline of the COVID-19 pandemic, a video went viral that shook an already fractured country to its core.
The video in question showed a police officer choking a black man with his knee, refusing to acknowledge the victims’ cries for air. This resulted in the unnecessary death of George Floyd and it didn’t take long for society to rightfully rise up and demand justice.
The City of Minneapolis has been engulfed by riots, flames, and anguish ever since. People in a position of influence have spoken out in order to try and send a clear message. Some have done so with a positive impact, others negative.
Many turned to names like Colin Kaepernick, who has been a key figure in the war against police brutality. But it was the statement of one man that caught many by surprise – Eagles Quarterback, Carson Wentz.
This was always going to be a tough thing to do for the 27-year-old. But he did so with eloquence, grace, awareness, and humility. Wentz acknowledged the communities he had been surrounded by growing up and how lucky he is to not have faced the fear or struggles that the black community does on a daily basis. But to align with them, recognize that it is institutional racism, and that he views everyone in the same light, as we all should, is incredibly mature.
There aren’t enough white players in the NFL who are actively using their platform to send a positive message in a time where emotion is so raw. To inform a generation who, like Wentz, may not have all experienced those same hardships, as to why a catastrophe like this is so important. It exhibits a sense of leadership, awareness, and humility that very few people in the NFL show in times like this for fear of the feedback if one wrong word pushes them off the public tightrope, feeling that it’s better to stay silent than to voice their emotions.
Zach Ertz joined Carson Wentz by making a similar statement on social media, one that carries the same energy and emotion.
In a city as culturally diverse as Philadelphia, having both Ertz and Wentz around as people of influence is so important. A pair of athletes at the top of their game who do have a very elevated platform and feel a responsibility to lead, inform, and unite in times of hardship.
I just wish more white NFL athletes would follow suit.
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports