CINCINNATI — Bengals center Trey Hopkins met with the media for over 20 minutes on Friday. He wasn't asked about formations or the playbook. Instead, he fielded questions about social injustice in America.
Hopkins delivered in every way possible, from giving examples of injustice he's experienced, to explaining how the Bengals' organization is going to pursue real change.
The 28-year-old was asked about Joe Burrow's leadership and he couldn't help but smile when asked about the rookie quarterback.
"Joe has really came in and been a leader on every front on the football team," Hopkins said. "As it comes to social justice, he’s really stepped up and become a leader. I feel very comfortable speaking for everyone on the team saying that we appreciate him. We respect him very much and we’re excited to go to war with him."
Hopkins mentioned the racial tensions in America, along with the COVID-19 pandemic and how that could negatively impact a player that is entering the league with the pressure of being the No. 1 pick.
Burrow wants to make a difference off the field. If that means standing up and being outspoken on social media, then he's going to do it. If that means listening to his teammates thoughts about social injustice, then he's going to do that too.
"Joe has a unique perspective," Hopkins said. "We are all from different places and we all have different backgrounds, different families and things like that. But Joe, he’s definitely used his (experiences) to allow him to be extremely empathetic. He’s a very active and productive leader right now."
A.J. Green also praised Burrow for speaking out against racial injustice. The entire team has been impressed with his willingness to speak out, even his coach was pleased.
"He knows his voice is important," head coach Zac Taylor said. "As a white quarterback and leader on this football team he knows people listen to him. I am proud of Joe. Sam Hubbard has been really involved in this. Just proud of everybody who has been in these meetings and is not afraid to speak up and talk about it and show their support for their teammates and just unite the team so that we can move forward as a team and unite our community and our country."