As nationwide demonstrations continue over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers more than two weeks ago, many people — from humble Internet posters to powerful politicians — have wondered what specific change the protesters actually want.
But Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and safety Tyrann Mathieu — who have been among the leading NFL voices calling for change — have some ideas about that. When the two Chiefs stars spoke to reporters in Wednesday, they explained they (and the Chiefs) want to spearhead a voter registration effort.
“It came from talking and listening to teammates and people throughout our organization,” said the Super Bowl MVP. “Obviously with voting coming up for our local offices and everything like that, we wanted to make sure that was on the front of our mind. We’ve talked about several things — nothing that is completely [formed] in stone — [but] voter registration was one big one that we really want to move forward with.”
“If we are to really give those people a voice,” said Mathieu, “and really allow those people to go into their communities and really select their leaders, I think that’s going to be very, very important going forward. I think if you’re going to change anything, you’re going to have to educate people on what it is that they have to do to change things — more than just protesting. They have to really find a call to action. I think that can impact a lot of people. I think that can really see good change.”
The two said they have already spoken to Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and team president Mark Donovan about their plans.
“We’ve had initial talks with Clark and we’ve talked with Mark,” Mahomes revealed. “We actually set up a meeting for next week with our committee — a lot of the players that are kind of leaders on our team — and we’re going to try and find the best way to give money, support or whatever it is to get many people registered to vote, so they can go in and try to effect change in whatever way that they think is possible.”
Mathieu said that he and his teammates weren’t trying to push a particular political agenda, but instead trying to get more people involved in the process so they could support their own agendas.
“We can sit here all day and talk about a lot of different things, right? And most of those topics are very sensitive; they’re very tough conversations. I think voter registration isn’t one of those conversations. I think it impacts everybody. I think everybody can be a part of that. And like I mentioned, if guys like myself (and more guys like me) can make voting cool — if we can make that a trendy thing, then we’re really changing the future; we’re really setting these kids up for a great future.
“The most important thing is to vote,” added Mathieu. “But a lot of folk don’t think that’s cool. Maybe we can make that a cool thing again.”
Mathieu said that that it didn’t have to stop there, reminding his listeners that if they want to help, they should just “throw in your hand,” as he put it. Mathieu said there are already many existing programs for underserved communities — programs that cut completely across racial divides. All of these, Mathieu said, need financial and volunteer support to do their jobs. ”I do a lot of stuff in the community,” he added. “If anybody’s looking to do something, they can just holler at me,” he chuckled.
“I think the whole world is at attention right now,” Mathieu said. ”It’s the perfect time for all of us to help out humans. It could be anybody.”