Eric Kendricks: "If You're Doing Nothing, That's Not Good Enough"
Eric Kendricks is hurting.
Like millions of others across the world, he watched the video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the back of George Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. The California native and veteran Vikings linebacker watched his adopted city burn in the wake of Floyd's death. As a Black man, he has seen how much pain this incident – the latest in a long history of police brutality – has caused.
On Wednesday, the Vikings' Twitter account posted a video of a raw, emotional Kendricks speaking his mind. The caption: 'Eric Kendricks in his own words.' For two and a half minutes, the 2019 First Team All-Pro expressed his pain, promised to continue to take action, and called on everyone watching the video to join in the fight.
“I know there’s a lot of you guys that probably feel similar to me," Kendricks said. "You feel a little bit helpless, like you can’t do nothing. You want to help, you want to be the change, but you don’t know how to in this situation. It's real deep.”
After a long pause, Kendricks continued.
“Minneapolis is a place that I care about really deeply. It breaks my heart to see the people of Minneapolis not only treated like this, but how hurt they are by this. People of the world. This isn’t a problem that’s going to be fixed overnight. It’s going to take accountability from each of us. I say that because I’m applying the pressure to myself as well, I’m applying the pressure to myself to do more. This has gotta stop happening. This is ridiculous, man, this is over and over."
Kendricks is one of the leaders of the Vikings' social justice committee, along with fellow linebacker Anthony Barr. Earlier this week, the two criticized a statement made by the NFL and asked for real action from the league. Kendricks makes a consistent effort to be involved in the community, whether through his work with Sheridan Story fighting against childhood hunger or by selling his paintings to raise money for COVID-19 relief.
He wants to help create change when it comes to racial injustice, too. So do his Vikings teammates. But even though their platforms as professional athletes are larger than those of average people, it can't just be them fighting for this. It's going to take everyone, and that especially applies to white people who have the privilege of opting out of the conversation if they choose to.
"I’m thankful that me and my teammates and the Vikings have been making major steps, we’re doing things to try to help this," Kendricks said. "We’re trying to get in the community, we're trying to reach people as best we can. Obviously we need to improve, but we’re doing so and we will continue to do so. But I just want to hold you guys to the same standard because it’s going to take all of us. Like I said, it’s not gonna happen overnight, but we gotta do something."
"And if you’re doing nothing, that’s not good enough.”
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