RGIII: Time to 'practice what we preach' as a country

Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 11:00 AM CDT
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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is aiming to raise $1,000,000 through the This is for Us initiative, which would impact the local and state governments to help wipe out social injustice.

What is the primary message you'd like to send today regarding the newest RG3 Foundation cause?

ROBERT GRIFFIN III: "We're selling the bands for the RG3 Foundation. We clearly want to ride this wave of momentum that the world is going right now. It's not just the US. Trying to spark change, as you and I both know, the only way to actually start change is to have money behind it. We don't need anyone to donate $50,000 but if we can get 20,000 people to donate $1, that's $20,000. That goes a long way. Bands, facemasks, shirts and we have a GoFundMe initiative."

You've mentioned on Twitter you've received a lot of support so far. Are you surprised at how much people have helped?

GRIFFIN III: "We were surprised at how well the bands were selling and people who have been wanting to be a part of it. We've sold to Canada, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, UAE, it's been incredible. It's been incredible the outreach we've gotten. We are closer to the goal for the bands itself, but we're trying to raise $1,000,000 to go into cities and impact the local and state governments to make the changes that are needed. We're not close to where we want to be with that initiative but we just started it."

Do you think the death of George Floyd would have this much of a difference in terms of waking everyone up?

GRIFFIN III: "I did not think when I first saw George Floyd get murdered on camera because of the officer having his knee on his neck for eight minutes that it would have this much of an impact. 2020 has been a pretty special year. We've had some pretty prominent celebrities pass away, COVID-19 that's had people out of work, staying at home, and then obviously now these mass protests and riots. The reason that the George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor murders have captivated everyone is because it's so clear. It's caught on tape, and there was an overwhelming amount of people that only had eyes on their news outlets or their phone because they weren't working. They didn't have anything else to do. When you see this and it's so blatant, like the George Floyd murder is, now they say, 'Okay, enough is enough. It's time to go out and protest in mass numbers.' People need to know it's not just the African-American community or the minority communities out there protesting, these protests are so big because the majority is out there. By the majority I mean white people. You have to call it as you see it. People like me aren't going to be the ones that really make the change in this country, it's going to be people that look like you, people that aren't too drastically affected by this that say, 'You know what, enough is enough. I'm not going to turn a blind eye to this anymore. Let's go ahead and implement these changes.' Let's practice what we preach, right? America is founded on liberty and justice for all, not liberty and justice for some. Not liberty and justice sometimes. It's time for us as a country to practice what we preach."

I don't know if you've had a chance to come across DeLino DeShields' account of obvious racism. Was there any incident that you've been a victim of obvious racism that's been along those lines that you wouldn't mind sharing?

GRIFFIN III: "Three's definitely some stories but I've tried to hold off on telling those stories because I don't want to take the attention away from the more violent and brutal acts we've seen flood social media and television. Me, personally, I've experienced the discrimination, the profiling and the police brutality. It hasn't been since I've been a pro athlete. There seems to be this protective bubble around pro athletes that when something like a person who can't say I'm in the NFL. I'm a MLB player. I'm a basketball player. Some of those things we're guarded from. It seems like people are willing to support us when we have our jersey on or our helmet on. When we're out there playing for our favorite team winning championships or winning games that gives them bragging rights over their friends for a whole year. We need those same people to support us when our community is being brutalized. I have those examples of times when I was in situations that if I wasn't a pro football player, especially being in Texas, right? Texas is home and it's where I'm from. I've had those experiences and you say to yourself, 'Man, I got lucky there.' Someone else might not've been as fortunate to get out of that situation. I shouldn't have been in that situation but it's just a matter of discrimination and profiling. We need that support. I begged my teammates, I say beg because I don't want to say as if they're not willing, but beg my teammates because it's an uncomfortable conversation. It's an uncomfortable one that people just want to stay away from. I think you're seeing people say alright now I'm willing to have the conversation. I don't have to give up my gun rights to be for human rights. I don't have to give up my political views to say someone who doesn't look like me or has the same culture as me doesn't deserve to be treated like all Americans should be treated. This is not a political issue. This is a human rights issue. I'm a devout Christian. For my Christian brothers and sisters, do what Jesus would do. Jesus searched out the one lost sheep just to reunite him with the 99 to say that we're whole again. I think this is our country trying to become whole again."

For the black community to feel safe and respected again, what will it take? Is it even something that can happen this generation, or the next? Can it happen any time soon?

Part of the reason people don't want to have the conversation, how do we rectify this, how do we make this right with the black community, people of color and how they've been treated and how they've experienced the social injustices. There is no correct answer. We don't know. I don't have the answer of how long it'll take for the black community to feel that trust again, or should I say, for the first time. Noone has the answer. We're trying to put stuff in place collectively, all the initiatives are trying to help us find the way to get there. The issue was there was never a willingness to get there. It was always turn the other cheek, it's really not affecting me personally, it's not affecting my day-to-day life, so it doesn't matter, right? It's the old capitalist throwaway statement of was the old survival of the fittest. We have to take care of each other just on a basic level. If I'm doing business with you, maybe I'm a better business man, but I'm not a better business man because of the color of my skin. I'm not a better business man because of discrimination or privilege. Maybe I worked hard or went to school longer. People have to understand it's going to take time. It's going to take a lot of effort. It's not just about protesting, it's not just about voting, it's not just about instead of being non-racist, be anti-racist. You have to check your own community, your own family and yourself. You have to ask those critical questions of yourself, what am I doing to aid in this? If I hear something I know is wrong, am I doing something? I think that'll get us doing in the right direction.

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