Chris Manhertz Talks Panthers' Player Impact Committee Advocating for Change

Schuyler Callihan

Police brutality toward people of color has been an issue in the United States for decades. George Floyd is the most recent victim of such heinous crime, but is just one of many who lost their lives just because of the color of their skin. It's a sickening sight to see and is something that needs to end. 

Thursday, Carolina Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz talked about his involvement in the Panthers' Player Impact Committee and how he plans on using his platform to help mend relationships between the black community and police.

"I initially joined it because I was raised a person to always give back to my community, wherever I'm at. Coming to the Carolina Panthers, that offered me a means of making an impact on the community in my own way. I joined this as a means to help impact the community in a positive way. The community I'm referring to is namely the underserved communities of the Carolinas. So, having that set up within the organization kind of facilitated the whole idea of me trying to get involved with the community."

Manhertz recently took part of a "Justice Walk" in Dilworth/Myers Park alongside teammates LB Shaq Thompson, S Tre Boston, TE Ian Thomas, and LB Andre Smith. The walk went extremely well and Panthers team owner David Tepper made sure to let his guys know that he fully supported what they were doing and were proud of them for taking a stand.

"I felt it was very important to show everyone that we're supportive of this and that this is something that we take pride in as well. It was a great turnout. It was peaceful, there was no violence. 

"Mr. Tepper called me a few days ago and pretty much offered support and empathized and acknowledged that there is a lot of things that need to be fixed in the society that we live in. Having the owner of the organization personally call you and have a conversation about it, I think that speaks volumes to the person he is and the organization that the Panthers are as well," Manhertz said.

In an interview with Yahoo! Sports a few days ago, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees commented on players kneeling for the national anthem, which caused a national response of backlash.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about ...

"... And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution.”

Manhertz played with Brees in New Orleans in 2016 and although he only appeared in three games with the organization, he gained a lot of respect for Brees during his short time. Thursday, Manhertz commented on Brees' initial statement and his apology.

"I'm glad that he issued an apology. I think it takes somebody of character to acknowledge that they're wrong and acknowledge that they messed up. And to Andre [Smith’s] point, everybody has their own perspective, so I can't really take that away from him, but it's just the matter of acknowledging and being empathetic. I think things like that kind of goes a long way in terms of understanding things that you may not have been exposed to or experienced."

Despite no one knowing the true answers to end racism, including Manhertz himself, he encourages people to band together and work on finding a solution. There are numerous ways to be a part of that solution as Manhertz details.

"I think a lot of things like this, especially in the age of social media and people voicing their opinions, I think that's where it starts, but that's certainly not where it should end. I would encourage people taking pride in doing the work and obviously there's many ways that people can go about that. Whether it be donating to certain causes, whether it be actually going into these communities and helping to facilitate relationships between cops and people of color, things like that is what I mean by doing the work. That' something that I definitely take pride in and something that I'm excited to be a part of."

What do you think about the great things that Chris Manhertz is doing for the community? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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