A great number of players are speaking out and a great number of high-profile players are doing so as well.
For Adande, the magnitude of star players speaking out has been hugely impactful.
“There’s a prominence that NFL players have and the ability and willingness to yield that power that they have,” Adande said. “For the first time, the reigning NFL MVP and the reigning Super Bowl MVP are black quarterbacks. So it’s one thing to score touchdowns, but the league and the public really values the people that throw the passes for those touchdowns. And increasingly, those are black faces. So, the presence of Patrick Mahomes in that video last week, really elevated the power of it. The reigning Super Bowl MVP, the future of the league, really, is an African American quarterback. And the power that he understands that he holds now, and we’ve seen the result. Roger Goodell basically bent the knee to use the Game of Thrones terminology. This is a shift, having so many prominent black quarterbacks, is really something the NFL hasn’t seen.”
While these might well be unprecedented times, the question will remain as to whether true change will come as a result.
Nonetheless, awareness on the topics of racial inequality, social injustice and racism has grown.
“I certainly think there’s a huge potential for change – potential,” Wiley said. “I think that the demonstrations themselves that have just galvanized the attention of the country, has clearly impacted public opinion.
“Two weeks of demonstrations have significantly increased America’s understanding that racism and discrimination is still a problem and I think black athletes have played a substantial role in that over the past few years in helping to elevate that awareness, as well.”