NFL

Patrick Mahomes on campaign against racial injustice: I needed to use my platform to help

By Sports Desk July 14, 2020

Patrick Mahomes has shown remarkable maturity in his short but spectacular time in the NFL, and the Super Bowl MVP's understanding of his platform was key in pushing the league to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mahomes, who recently signed a 10-year extension worth up to $503million with the Chiefs, was one of several Black NFL stars to appear last month in a video calling for the league to speak out in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

A day later, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a video message apologising for the league's previous response to players kneeling during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

Encouraging players to peacefully protest, Goodell said: "We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter."

Speaking to GQ about the video he featured in alongside the likes of Odell Beckham Jr, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas, Mahomes said: "I understand my platform.

"I understand that my part in the video is a big part of it. It wasn't something I could sit back on and worry about my next contract, because I needed to use my platform to help. Sometimes it's not about money. It's not about fame. It's about doing what's right."

Goodell received criticism for not mentioning former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains out of the league having famously been the first to kneel in 2016, in his video.

However, 24-year-old Mahomes is confident Goodell and the league want to bring about meaningful change.

He said of his conversations with the commissioner and Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt: "They, as much as us, want to do the right thing.

"I remember talking [with Goodell] about having maybe a social justice officer that can point people in the right direction. So whenever you wanna help out the community, you have someone that works with the team that can help. He was encouraged. It was a great conversation. It lasted, like, 30 minutes to an hour."

Mahomes, the son of African American former MLB player Pat Mahomes and a white mother, explained how the experiences of other players on the video growing up and feeling "targeted" had struck a chord with him.

Speaking of his fortune in being spared the "craziness that happens in this world" because of the advantages provided by his background, Mahomes added: "The more I mature, I've learned that I was blessed to be in the situation that I was in.

"I've seen how people, on Twitter, have tweeted and said, 'Oh, you're not full Black'. But I've always just had the confidence and believed in who I am. And I've known that I'm Black. And I'm proud to be Black. And I'm proud to have a white mom too.

"I'm just proud of who I am. And I've always had that confidence in myself."

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