Julian Edelman, several teammates and members of the New England Patriots participated in a 21-person stream on the team’s website on Saturday to discuss social injustice and racism in the United States. It was a refreshingly open conversation between a particularly diverse group of men that should be emulated with other teams and by more organizations in all industries.
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Edelman was joined by 20 other members of the Patriots organization. They were divided into three groups and the flow of discussion created a great perspective.
Here is a list of the participants:
- Center David Andrews
- LB Brandon Copeland
- FB Jakob Johnson
- CB Jonathan Jones
- LB Coach Jerod Mayo
- CB Jason McCourty
- RB James White
- RB Brandon Bolden
- Pro Scout Steve Cargile
- OLB Coach DeMarcus Covington
- QB Brian Hoyer
- ST Matthew Slater
- Retired TE Benjamin Watson
- DE Deatrich Wise Jr.
- LB Ja’Whaun Bentley CB Justin Bethel
- Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio,
- WR Edelman
- S Devin McCourty
- Scout Ronnie McGill
- OLB Derek Rivers
Here is a look at the entire 42-minute conversation hosted by Patriots’ All Access Steve Burton.
Edelman posted one of his comments on his Instagram account:
He spoke about being willing to listen to what his black teammates, friends, and countrymen are saying about their experiences. It’s hopeful that Edelman and other members of the panel–especially those who aren’t African-American–will be willing to follow Edelman’s lead and simply listen to what is being said.
Mayo made a poignant statement during the first segment. He quoted his mother who told him in a recent conversation: “real change won’t happen until white families are having these kinds of tough conversation around the dinner table.”
Yakob Johnson, who is a Black man from Germany, added:
“Coming to America was the first time I experienced being treated differently because of the color of my skin. Before I was here, that didn’t happen to me.”
For those who have never experienced this sort of thing, these sorts of revelations can be shocking. The most important thing for patriots to do, and I’m not referring to the football team, but proud Americans is to be caring enough to hear these stories and to consider their experience in the country isn’t the same as everyone else.
The Patriots organization hasn’t always been associated with this sort of socially conscious behavior, but the team is to be commended for facilitating the conversation.