Bobby Wagner spent nearly an hour talking to local reporters on Monday. There was some football discussed, but as expected, most of the conversation centered around the current events in this country.
Wagner began his Zoom call presser with a lengthy statement on the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police and the fallout from that event. The Seahawks linebacker explained that he's not much of a social media guy, and so he wanted us (and you, for that matter) to get to hear it from him directly.
But for those who didn't watch the presser live, here's his full statement, transcribed in its entirety. I bolded a few parts that stood out to me in particular.
"Before I wanted to speak or before we talk about football, obviously there's something more important that we need to address before we get to football. Obviously, the stuff that has gone on the past week, especially the past few days, weekend, has been crazy. Like many of the black community you know I am hurt, sad, in pain, that we had to watch another video of another black man being murdered and watching him gasp and try to get air, say to the cop "I can't breathe" and ask you know basically ask him for life that's not something that I that you ever get used to, you know. So I want to say that I support the protesters. I understand the message; I understand why, what's going on, what's happening. I feel like it's important, especially sitting here with you guys in the media. You guys play, I think, a pretty big role in what's going on right now because you guys play a part in the narrative. Over the years, we have talked to you guys about you being able to control the narrative and say what's really going on. I feel like a lot of focus is on the rioting, the looting, the people stealing stuff, but we're not talking enough about what started that. I think the black community is tired of seeing the same things going on and not seeing change. I think we're tired of not seeing people being held accountable for the actions that they do, but understanding that if we were in that position, we would be held accountable. So I challenge everybody on this call to be a part, and the media, to report the message and what it really is. We're tired of seeing black people killed, you know what I'm saying? I've been having conversations with people and somebody said, ‘Man, you know what? I'm afraid to have a child - I'm afraid to have a black child because I don't know how they're going to be treated in this world based off their skin color.' That's not a position that anybody should be in. I don't have all the answers and I don't even know if what I'm saying is coming out perfect, but I do know that we need to educate ourselves, on both sides. I feel like white people need to educate themselves on what the black experience is like. We look at the media and the media is very white but there is some black media and I think it's important to have a conversation with them to understand what are some of the things they're going [through] because it's just as important for you all to understand who you're working with the things that they have to deal with. Football is a special place because we get to be around all walks of life – white, black, people from Canada and all over to be exposed to different things. So I challenge you guys to educate yourselves on what it's like to be black in America. I definitely feel like we have to educate ourselves as well because there's a lot of things that they're not teaching us in school, we're not learning in schools and we need to figure out why that is. Everybody's supposed to be getting the same education but we all know that's not the case, and we need to fix that. What's the point of having a camera, and watching someone murder someone, if they're not going to be held accountable for their actions. So I feel like this is a very interesting time right now. I feel like a lot of people are listening, especially in the white community-maybe, I'm not sure-but I think it's important that you try to get that knowledge. And I think it's important that you reach out to your fellow black members in the media to try to get that knowledge, because they always say ‘Knowledge is power' and I believe that, but I also believe that the ability to use and apply that knowledge is where the true power comes. What's the good in having knowledge if you ain't going to use it? So use the knowledge, see how you can help, and spread the message. I was there at the protests on Saturday until some white people started burning up cop cars. So instead of reporting-report the peaceful side of the protests as well. Report the people that are doing good, because there's a lot of people doing good out there. There's a lot of people that want to see the world change and don't want to see the world like this anymore. We want to feel good to have our kids in this world, and it has to mean something to you guys. I feel like it doesn't really hit home until it happens to you. In the media, I can't see everybody on this call but I would go out on a limb and say you all rock with me, so imagine I was that person, having a knee to their neck – how would you feel? It doesn't need to happen to someone close to you for it to feel that way. So I just urge everybody to educate themselves, urge everybody to figure out what we can do to make this better. I don't have all the answers. I'm hurting, I'm pissed off like everybody else, I'm tired like everybody else and I want to see something different but it's going to take some leadership. We don't have that leadership right now. We have someone in the office that's calling black protesters ‘thugs' and white protesters ‘good people,' and that's not okay. As white people, ya'll need to check that. That's on ya'll to check that. We can only check something so much – it's got to mean something to you. Yeah man, that's kind of what I had on my heart. Hopefully that came out how I wanted it to come out and now we can talk about football."
Bobby Wagners full statement on the death of George Floyd originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest