Marist Graduate at Forefront of NFL Racial Injustice Protests
A Marist graduate was at the forefront of a dramatic racial injustice protest.
Many NFL teams found ways to protest racial injustice during week one of the NFL season. Across the league, players and coaches knelt during the national anthem while other teams stayed in their locker rooms during the anthem. The Minnesota Vikings hosted the family of George Floyd.
In Atlanta, the Falcons and Seahawks dramatically protested racial injustice during the first play of the game. Seattle's Jason Myers kicked the ball through the end zone during the open kickoff as players from both teams took to one knee.
"It was good to have both organizations come together and do something together," Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said, according to ESPN. "I think it will help spark conversations for change."
All 22 players on the field for the opening kickoff dropped to one knee as the Myers' kick sailed into the end zone. AP reports the players stayed down on one knee on the field for 10 seconds.
"We're taking this moment and making it a movement, not just as a race, a community or a team, but as a nation," Falcons defensive end Steven Means said in a statement issued by the team, according to AP. "It's time to stand up, rise up and vote."
Myers graduated from Marist in 2013. He remains the program's record holder for the longest field goal, 49 yards, and graduated as the program's all-time leading scorer among placekickers.
Both teams star quarterbacks, Russel Wilson and Matt Ryan, led their teams in the collaborative protest.
“We had initial discussions as a team about what we wanted to do in terms of making our voices heard heading in to the first game,” Ryan said, according to NBC Sports. “Both teams came to the collaboration of taking a knee after the first kickoff. I felt good about that. We were excited to try and voice our want for change and to make a difference. It was a good collaboration and I appreciate the candor and discussions that we had back and forth with the Seahawks."
The NFL shared the protest on Twitter, adding the NFL stands with the players.