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Letter from Wade Davis: Opportunity to change narrative

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  • By Wade Davis NFL.com
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A letter from former NFL player Wade Davis:

As a former NFL player, an African American man, and someone who deeply believes that we are only on this earth to take care of each other, it's heartening to see my NFL brethren use their social, political and economic capital to impact individuals and communities that are most marginalized.

When I first entered the NFL in 2001, my focus was singular and narrow; the idea of working to better any community was foreign to me. For too long, I placed needless value on obtaining material things and being liked.

I'm grateful to have finally grown up and followed the path of other former NFL players to use my power, privilege, and access to have a more positive impact on the world. We -- players and owners -- are growing and evolving in our understanding of what it means to fight for equity and equality.

The work is never black and white, nor are the answers. But I believe that, by working in solidarity, we can determine next steps to nation-build and take action. Yet as we look to work within marginalized communities, we must humble ourselves to ask questions and listen to those whom we are trying to help, and not assume we know how to best solve their situations.

Beyond that, we -- the NFL community -- have a rare opportunity to change the narrative about certain communities by connecting the disenfranchised with those in power, to remove the distance that allows stereotypes and myths to influence public policies.

Building coalitions between players, owners and communities creates conditions that can allow us to redefine what economic development can look like when those most impacted are part of the conversation. There's no reason someone's zip code should define his or her quality of life. We have models to follow, like Warrick Dunn, who has been ensuring single mothers have homes to thrive in and begin anew.

When we know better, we do better. So we must educate ourselves because, as James Baldwin said, “You have to know where you came from in order to know where you are, in order to know where you are going. And history is not something you do -- it's something you achieve.” And because so many of us did so much with less, now that we have more, we must follow our forebears and do more.

In Solidarity,

Wade Davis ll

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