Even before he made hundreds of millions of dollars in the NFL, Matthew Stafford was privileged. He grew up in one of America’s wealthiest suburbs, and as a star athlete he had opportunities not afforded to most.
Stafford wants to acknowledge that, and he wants both to learn and to use his platform to help others learn.
“Listen, I’m not some perfect person,” Stafford wrote at ThePlayersTribune.com. “I’m not trying to lecture anybody. I’ve made a million mistakes. I grew up in Highland Park, Texas, which is probably one of the most privileged places in the country. It’s a place that I still love very much, but it’s a bubble. That’s just a fact. I was not exposed to a lot of diversity or different ideas growing up. I was not educated on these issues, and I probably said a bunch of stupid things when I was young that I regret. But a big part of life is about looking inside yourself and trying to evolve as a person.”
Stafford said that he is constantly learning from spending time with teammates who come from different backgrounds. He cited as a recent example working out with teammates this offseason in Georgia. The first teammate he joined was Danny Amendola, who like Stafford is white. The two of them worked out together multiple times in an empty field without incident. Then some black teammates joined them at the same field, and within 10 minutes they were approached by a man who accused them of trespassing and called the police.
“I was embarrassed to have put my teammates in that situation, especially when I was told that it was cool to use the field. Especially when I had been on the same field with Danny with no problems,” Stafford wrote. “The only difference is what we all know in our hearts. Danny and I are white. We don’t get the cops called on us in those situations. We don’t immediately get called uncooperative.”
Stafford is doing what everyone should do, and seeking to understand the lives of those who come from different places and have different experiences.
Matthew Stafford: I grew up in privilege, want to get out of my bubble originally appeared on Pro Football Talk