As nationwide protests continue following the death of George Floyd while in police custody, a pair of Vikings linebackers are calling for change.
Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr released identical statements on Twitter asking the NFL for more specific action after the league released a statement on Saturday. The NFL’s original statement expressed sadness over recent tragic events and added: “As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
Kendricks and Barr want to see more definite steps taken.
.@NFL what actual steps are you taking to support the fight for justice and system reform?
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. pic.twitter.com/EOqzDjW1an
— Eric Kendricks (@EricKendricks54) June 2, 2020
The former college teammates who have played in Minnesota together since 2015 said the Vikings organization is looking for ways to make an impact at a local level.
“The Vikings have opened a dialogue with players and we’re all working towards solutions with the team…if anyone has suggestions for how to support the city, we’d love to hear them,” they wrote. “Our team doesn’t just want to donate — we want to work with local organizations and get out there to help facilitate change.”
The linebackers also requested feedback from the community.
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.
— Anthony Barr (@AnthonyBarr) June 2, 2020
But there is still a dissatisfaction with the league’s response, just as there was several years ago when the league faced criticism when dealing with Colin Kaepernick‘s kneeling protest during the National Anthem.
“We want answers at the league level,” they wrote. “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.”
The Vikings postponed media access this week due to current events, but head coach Mike Zimmer released the following statement:
Statement from Head Coach Mike Zimmer pic.twitter.com/unBRZnd3Z1
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) June 2, 2020