Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. joined other NFL stars in demanding the NFL to condemn racison and support their right to protest racial injustice. (Rob Lorenzo)
Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland.
Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. are among a group of star NFL players who appealed to the league in a video to condemn racism and not discourage or silence their peaceful protests of police brutality against blacks.
The video includes appearances by Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Tyrann Mathieu, Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins and Jamal Adams.
The powerful message voiced by the players was this:
“We will not be silenced. We assert our right to peacefully protest. It shouldn’t take this long to admit. So, on behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: ‘We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter.’”
The video comes after the conversation of police brutality and racial injustice initiated by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 intensified following the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes despite pleas that he couldn’t breathe while three other police officers watched.
“It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered,” Thomas says.
The star players alternate voicing their message.
What will it take “for one of us to be murdered by police brutality?” Landry says.
“What if I was George Floyd?” Beckham says.
The players jointly say, “I am George Floyd,” and then repeat the message by naming other African-Americans who died in incidents involving police officers.
“I am George Floyd. I am Breonna Taylor. I am Ahmaud Arbery. I am Eric Garner. I am Laquan McDonald. I am Tamir Rice. I am Trayvon Martin. I am Walter Scott. I am Michael Brown Jr. I am Samuel Dubose. I am Frank Smart. I am Phillip White. I am Jordan Baker,” they say.
The last image of the video is Beckham stating, “Black lives matter.”
The video was released the day Drew Brees apologized profusely on Twitter and on Instagram for saying he’d “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag.”
Brees’ comments drew widespread negative reaction from Brees’ New Orleans Saints teammates, other prominent sports figures, including LeBron James, and several media commentators.