Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu hasn’t stayed quiet about fighting social injustice. And that won't be changing anytime soon.
Mathieu discussed his involvement in creating solutions for minority communities during a video conference with reporters on June 10. He's been outspoken and proactive during his time in Kansas City, which has been a different position than he was in when Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players knelt during the national anthem throughout the 2016 season.
“Right now, it’s just an overall concern amongst all players,” Mathieu said. “Most of us understand that we could’ve all been Collin Kaepernick in the sense that we wouldn’t be playing football anymore. I think all of us are just taking in personal in the sense that yes it could’ve been us, but what are we going to do about it going forward.”
Four years ago, Mathieu says, as the protests were ongoing, he was focused on keeping his name clear of controversy in order to continue building his NFL career. Mathieu reflected on that time and the reasons that he's more comfortable speaking out now.
“I think what I had was fragile,” Mathieu said. “I went through a lot to get to where I was at and for me, it was about continuing to turn a certain corner. And so, that's what my focus was on. It was making me a better person, trying to be the best teammate, trying to avoid negative headlines. My focus, as I grew older in this league, I’m mature enough to understand that a lot of things are beyond me, and it’s okay to go beyond me, to help people. It’s not about just me fixing myself or building myself up and making sure I’m strong enough to handle my life. I think, at many times in our life, people are going to need us.”
Mathieu began to use his platform to fight social injustice following the killing of George Floyd in the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Mathieu’s thoughts grew more public during his press conference, pledging to make voting cool again while challenging other athletes to join the cause. His goal is to create change.
“I think obviously you would want to stop seeing people killed on video, whether it’s on video or not,” Mathieu said. “You would like to see more people step up, no matter what side of the fence they’re on. I think most importantly, like I continue to mention, it’s all about us coming together collectively. We all come from different parts of the world, we all come from different spaces in our lives and I think the most important thing to understand is that in order to move forward we’re going to have to love each other, we’re going to have to listen to each other, we’re going to have to begin to understand each other."