Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow's heartfelt social media post saying the "black community needs our help" after George Floyd's killing is a welcome sight, USA Today's Nancy Armour wrote in a column Saturday.
Burrow urged his fans to open their ears and listen to the painful experiences that many black Americans face on a regular basis on Twitter Friday.
"They have been unheard for far too long," LSU's former star quarterback wrote. "Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights."
The black community needs our help. They have been unheard for far too long. Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights.— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) May 29, 2020
Burrow, Armour writes, is one of several "high-profile, white male athletes finally joining in the fight" against systemic racism. Along with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, other notable athletes who've spoken out include Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz.
A video of Floyd's encounter with police, which has sparked outrage and protests across the nation, shows an officer kneeling on the neck of 46-year-old Floyd, who was black, for nearly eight minutes. It shows Floyd gasping for breath and telling officers he couldn't breathe before he died.
Minneapolis leaders fired four police officers who were at the scene, including the arresting officer. The city's mayor also called for criminal charges against the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck. That officer was taken into custody on Friday.
This is not the first time Burrow has spoken publicly about social issues. In his Heisman speech, he brought attention to an impoverished area in Athens, Ohio, near his hometown. The remarks led people to donate to area food banks at record paces.
"Whatever it is, the rage and protests roiling the country feel different," Armour writes. "Burrow’s heartfelt post ... capture that shift."