JC Tretter has had a lot to deal with in his short tenure as president of the NFL Players Association. First, he was tasked with navigating a safe return to the field for players amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, he’s using his platform to urge others to speak out against racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Chauvin and three other officers were fired on Tuesday, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
At this time every month I release a column around topics related to the NFLPA and its players,” Tretter posted on Twitter. “However, there are issues at hand that need to be addressed that are bigger than the game of football. Like many of you processing the news of George Floyd’s murder, I’ve felt a range of emotions from disbelief to anger. Unfortunately, this is not just about George Floyd’s senseless and avoidable death. The issue of changing systemic racism and individual prejudice in our country is long overdue.
As a white man, I will never fully understand the daily experiences and fears that people of color in this country live with. Sports have provided me an opportunity to form friendships with people from different backgrounds, races, religions, and beliefs. These friendships have helped broaden and shape my understanding of others’ perspectives and struggles.
Some may feel hesitant to speak out as they don’t what to say or how to say it. Your individual fear of saying the wrong thing is insignificant compared to the actual issues that need addressing. Racism is something that we all must take responsibility to end. As human beings, we need to identify and challenge prejudice, rather than deny it.