Matt Ryan, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, has become vocal enough about social justice and race issues that Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” invited him on the show Wednesday.
Noah asked Ryan as a white person why he chose to speak out now as an athlete despite the potential for backlash.
“This was something that my friends and teammates were saying and I was listening,” he told Noah. “They said that you guys have our back and tell us you support us, but it would help more if you did it publicly. So, we’re able to go out and use this platform to encourage change.”
Ryan started a GoFundMe fundraiser aimed at advancing lives in the black community of Atlanta. He put in $500,000 of his own money and hopes to raise $2 million. As of Wednesday night, he had raised nearly $1.3 million from more than 2,200 donors.
He said he doesn’t want to just throw money immediately at something in a knee-jerk reactive way. Rather, he wants to be more deliberative in hopes of making a greater long-term impact. He is seeking guidance from people who know more than he does, “different people from the Atlanta community who are heavily involved at a grassroots level.”
Ryan also said he regretted not taking action sooner, that it took the George Floyd death and other recent events to get him off the sidelines.
“I have a platform to be able to speak, to continue to push the narrative forward,” Ryan said” and make the change we need to make.”
The Atlanta Falcons as a team has been running a social justice program the past two years, and there are plans for expansion.
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