ATLANTA — NFL quarterback Matt Ryan said he is listening and learning. Now, he is putting action behind his words.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and protests, the Falcons footbll player has created the “Advancing The Lives (ATL) Of The Black Community” fund.
Ryan made the announcement on social media and started the account with his own $500,000 donation.
“Last week I made a commitment to listening and learning, and one of the messages that hit home for me was the difference between reacting to a situation and responding to a situation. For far too long I have reacted to social injustice with empathy and silent support but failed to follow through with active support. I feel the time has come to RESPOND. For ALL of us to respond," Ryan wrote on Instagram.
The goal right now is set at $2 million, the same number as Ryan’s jersey, and aside from his donation, 100,000 has been raised so far, WSB-TV reported.
“I see my city hurting, which is why I’m starting a fundraiser to help improve the community for people of color in the city of Atlanta. I’m kicking it off with a $500K donation and am asking you to consider donating as well. Whether big or small, you will be joining me in making a difference," Ryan wrote.
“Over the next few weeks/months I’ll be really listening to the needs of the community and working with black business leaders, sports figures, activists and local grassroots organizations to get guidance on how these donations can be most impactful. Let’s rise up as a community. It’s time.”
Ryan is one of many NFL players who has spoken up about the death of George Floyd in recent weeks.
Black NFL players, including Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, came together for a message, saying what happened to Floyd could have happened to any of them.
“I am George Floyd. I am Breonna Taylor. I am Ahmaud Arbery. I am Eric Garner. I am Laquan McDonald. I am Tamir Rice. I am Trayvon Martin. I am Walter Scott. I am Michael Brown Jr. I am Samuel DuBose. I am Frank Smart. I am Phillip White. I am Jordan Baker," a multitude of NFL players said in a video posted on social media.
The players continued: “On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: 'We the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry of the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas were among those that spoke out.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded Friday, apologizing for not listening to the players who have peacefully protested over the years.