The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers last week sparked protests, riots, and widespread discussion about racial inequality and police brutality throughout the United States. Sports figures have gotten involved in the conversation, with numerous athletes, teams, and leagues making statements regarding the incident. Some of those statements have been worded in ways that come across as genuine and well-meaning, while others leave something to be desired.
The statement made by the NFL on Saturday falls into the latter category, given how the league famously exiled Colin Kaepernick for peacefully protesting during the national anthem.
On Tuesday, Vikings All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks spoke out against the NFL's empty statement.
"What actual steps are you taking to support the fight for justice and system reform?" Kendricks asked on Twitter. "Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you’re ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means."
Kendricks continued by asking for suggestions on what concrete steps the Vikings can take towards creating change, and continued to call on the NFL to take action.
"The Vikings have opened a dialogue with players and we’re all working towards solutions with the team," he said. "If anyone has suggestions for how to support the city, we’d love to hear them. Our team doesn’t just want to donate — we want to work with local organizations and get out there to help facilitate change. DM me or comment if you have any suggestions or info."
"But we want answers at the league level. That’s where change can happen, and we’ve seen none. Because right now, it seems like nothing. And nothing is unacceptable. You can’t bring in people to teach us how we should interact with police but not work towards changing the behavior of the police themselves. Silence will not make this go away."
Kendricks' five-tweet thread was reposted by fellow linebacker Anthony Barr. Both men are members of the Vikings' social justice committee that was formed in 2018, and both are very active in the Twin Cities community. Barr's Raise The Barr foundation helps raise funds for single mothers, and Kendricks has worked extensively with Sheridan Story to fight childhood hunger.
Many players in the Vikings organization have also made statements calling for change after the death of Floyd, with coach Mike Zimmer the latest to do so on Tuesday.
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