While the NFL is on the verge of returning with coaches and players beginning to return to practice facilities, the focus in recent days has shifted off the field.
After a black man by the name of George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minnesota, seemingly the whole country and world have banded together to fight against police brutality and racial oppression.
The Las Vegas Raiders have been among the most vocal organizations to speak up about the subject and owner Mark Davis and countless players have released statements calling for action.
With the Raiders just moving to a new community in Las Vegas, they also issued a statement offering condolences to a police officer that was shot during recent riots. As more people have spoken out though, the change that is long overdue becomes more and more apparent, so the athletes that have used their platforms to help bring that about deserve a ton of credit.
The latest to do so is Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams, who opened up in an Instagram post about the racism he dealt with as a mixed-race individual growing up in Oregon:
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My Mom is white my Dad is black. I grew up in Turner, Oregon which is 95% white. Early in school I remember learning about slavery and civil rights and kids making jokes and saying crazy stuff about me. The school’s solution was to have my dad come and take me on a walk. In middle school I was told I shouldn’t be alive because my parents should have never been together. In middle school kids were either so excited to read the books on civil rights and segregation because they got to say the N word, or they were turning and staring at me when it was my turn to read. In high school I remember being called the N word during multiple football games. Never basketball or track because you’d be able see and hear who said it. In high school I remember white kids telling me I’m not “actually” black anytime black cultural topics are brought up. For me, I felt racism weekly. Walking out of high-school one day to see KKK flyers on all the windshields of the cars. These were just a few of the thousands of incidents of racism early in my life that stuck out. I had an identity crisis growing up not knowing with who or how to fit in. Fortunately I also had great friends who would stick up and stand for the cause. I want to and am going to be an outlet for these kids going thru what I went thru. Im going to have a louder voice in bringing light to the hate. I love my mixed family and friends. I’m thankful for my friends and family who have had the black community’s back, and my friends who had my back growing up and still do today. My Dads life matters My Brothers life matters My Sisters life matters My Niece and Nephew life matters My Cousins and Aunties life matters My Granny and Papas life matters Proverb 6:16-19
It couldn’t have been easy for Williams to share something that personal, so credit to him for putting his own feelings to the side to release a powerful statement on the matter.
If Williams and other black athletes continue to share stories such as this one then that should help their fans gets educated on the matter at hand. While the focus will shift back to the field soon, hopefully athletes and people can continue protesting peacefully until change is made.