Today, the NFL is premiering the most recent installment of its league’s Say their Stories series highlighting what Black Lives Matter means to Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard. Say Their Stories is a season-long NFL initiative to continue the theme of social justice and raising awareness of systemic racism that has resonated throughout the nation, and enact fundamental change by amplifying the names and stories of victims of police brutality through player voices to drive the narrative forward.
Leonard, who has been vocal about racial inequalities in our country, narrates the piece and discusses his experience being racially profiled last year at a restaurant with his family, which ultimately inspired his decision to wear the statement “All Black Lives Matter” on the back of his helmet this season.
Over 1,400 players, coaches, and officials have chosen the name of a victim or a phrase like “It takes all of us” and “Black Lives Matter” to wear on helmet deals and/or custom cleats this season. Additional Say Their Stories PSAs include Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Julius Jones, and Alton Sterling. Below is a link to the full Black Lives Matter PSA and a quote from Leonard.
Darius Leonard Quotes on Black Lives Matter and the PSA:
- “Yes, all lives do matter, but black lives – right now – those are the ones that really need help.”
- “We need people to really just listen. Listen and understand our pain… They never feel our pain and why we hurt so much. Why are we saying black lives matter? We just want you to understand. If you can just listen to one story and tell your kids that [racial profiling] is not the right thing to do, that’s what it’s going to have to take because kids learn from their parents. As long as parents tell their kids that this is not the right way to do things, then the world will change.”
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