San Francisco 49ers' Richard Sherman Wants Athletes to Use Their Platform - Sports Illustrated

SI Insider: Richard Sherman Encourages Other Athletes to Use Their Platform

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SI's Albert Breer spoke with the 49ers' Richard Sherman as protests over the death of George Floyd continue throughout the United States. Sherman spoke about the importance of athletes using their platform to affect change and the unique opportunity white quarterbacks could take to speak out. 

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Madelyn Burke: Public figures are speaking out as protests are happening across the nation after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis as a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes. Now, Richard Sherman spoke about the ability of athletes to use their voices, specifically the white quarterbacks who spoke up this week against racial injustice and police brutality. Joining me now is MMQB senior writer Albert Breer. And Albert. I know you spoke to Richard Sherman about this. What was his message? 

Albert Breer: Well, I think the biggest thing was the more voices, the better. He was very careful in trying to put it on anybody to speak. You know, he said it's really each athlete's decision and then no one should be forced to speak if it's not something they feel strongly about. But he encouraged more and more people to talk. And he thought that it was really powerful that the white quarterbacks came out and talked and talked in particular because he really felt like that would help them reach a different audience. 

And he felt like there are people out there that may not listen when black athletes say these things. But will listen when a white quarterback says something. They've obviously got a huge platform because of the positions they play. How high profile they are. And, of course, because they're white, it could bring a different audience in. And I thought it was notable, too, and this is something that he and I went back and forth on a little bit, it was really interesting how young the white quarterbacks were. You had Carson Wentz in his 20s. You had Joe Burrow. He's a rookie. You had Trevor Lawrence. He's not even in the NFL yet. 

It was a lot of the younger white quarterbacks, which I think probably speaks to a little bit of a generational divide in that the younger players are a little bit more comfortable speaking out than some of the older players are. And so now the door is open. Maybe you'll see more white quarterbacks talk. But I know Richard felt like it was really important that a few of them got out there and said something because he does think that's going to help the message get to a different audience.