The talk of athletes taking more of a stand in social issues hasn’t stopped since Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul spoke out about the social injustices and the nonstop violence that has been happening on our home turf at the EPSY’s. Green Bay Packer’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers agrees with the idea that NFL players should speak out on social issues more often and spoke on what happen at the ESPY’s in an interview with ESPN Wisconsin’s “Wilde & Tausch”.
“It’s got to be natural, it’s got to be authentic, and I think those guys did a really good job. It was a great message,” Rodgers said. “The thing I’ll say in reference to speaking your mind, [I read] a piece on the Bennetts recently — Michael and Martellus.And I turned to a friend and I said, ‘Why do we have to say that it’s refreshing when someone speaks their mind? Or is honest now?’ I think that’s kind of a societal issue that we have.
“We need more guys like that who feel comfortable speaking their mind.”
The interview with Rodgers was conducted before riots broke out in Milwaukee on Saturday night in the aftermath of a police-involved shooting. Six businesses on the city’s north side were set on fire, four officers were injured and 17 people were arrested, according to the Milwaukee Police Department. More unrest followed Sunday night.
Speaking to reporters as the Seahawks arrived at training camp July 31, Bennett called on players to step forward on social issues.
“You don’t see a lot of great players talking about things socially, whether it’s Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. All of these guys, they’re white. They don’t have to deal with the things that we deal with as black players, so it’s not as many,” Bennett said.
“In the NBA, everybody is standing up for it, so the greatest players are in the forefront of the movement. Here in the NFL, the greatest players aren’t in the forefront of the movement. Whether it’s the [collective bargaining agreement], whether it’s things going on with trying to change the way — concussions. The greatest players aren’t involved like LeBron James, Chris Paul and all these guys [in the NBA]. Our great players are sitting back just taking the dollars, whether it’s Cam Newton, all these guys. They’re not really on the forefront of trying to change what’s going on.”
Asked in the ESPN Wisconsin interview whether he believes the NBA culture allows players to speak their minds more readily than the NFL, Rodgers replied, “One-hundred percent. And I think it starts with leadership. I think [NBA commissioner Adam Silver] has done a good job promoting that type of environment. And I think some guys in the NFL are probably worried about repercussions on speaking their mind from the league.”
Rodgers acknowledged that he has not been particularly outspoken.
“Those guys are doing it and they feel comfortable doing it,” Rodgers said. “I think if more guys maybe did in our league, it would create a domino effect possibly.”