Ricardo Allen has taken on a full leadership role in the team's social justice efforts over the last couple of years. This year specifically, Ricardo has taken lead in the player Social Justice Committee meetings through researching organizations and educating others on their importance. In the Spring, the Atlanta Falcons Social Justice Committee hosted an event once a week from April through mid-June and Ricardo was a part of almost all of them. He has spoken in front of the team at team meetings regarding the importance of the committee's social justice efforts and has personally recruited additional players to join in on the outreach. Aside from Ricardo's time, effort and research, in this year alone he has donated more than $45,000 towards the Atlanta Falcons Social Justice Committee's fund and selected causes. Ricardo was selected to speak on a panel surrounding the work of social justice activist, Bryan Stevenson. Ricardo spoke on the importance of knowing your rights and taking action in your own local community. Ricardo visited the Equal Justice Initiative Museum in Montgomery, Alabama as well as the lynching memorial. This year, Ricardo will be representing the Equal Justice Initiative on his cleats during the week of My Cause My Cleats.
Since Ricardo was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2014, he has been committed to the community of Atlanta and his hometown of Daytona Beach. Ricardo has always been involved in the team's community activations as well as his own. Each off season, Ricardo hosts a free youth football camp in Daytona Beach. At the camp, kids can learn basic football drills and play in scrimmages, but more importantly Ricardo always makes sure to carve out time with the young athletes to talk about sportsmanship and leadership. As for the city of Atlanta, two years ago, Ricardo thought it was important for he and his teammates to take action in the realm of social justice. He thought it was important to emphasize doing something about the world's problems rather than just taking a stance for everyone to see. With extreme vulnerability, Ricardo stepped up in front of the team to form the first ever Atlanta Falcons player-led Social Justice Committee. Since the 2017 season, Ricardo has been immersed and has been leading all of the Atlanta Falcons social justice initiatives; and also, his own. Ricardo was a part of a campaign in Super Bowl 53 with RISE where he was a part of an interactive booth on equality. Although Ricardo's focus is social justice, his community efforts span across more than that. Over his years with the team, Ricardo has demonstrated his passion for giving back through attending team events in Atlanta and even outside of the state of Georgia. Ricardo began his outreach in 2016 about as far as he could go. He travelled to Canada where he was a part of an NFL Canada PLAY 60 event and participated in a visit to the local children's hospital. Ricardo also traveled to Washington D.C. where he visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Walter Reed Medical Center to spend time with injured troops. This past year, Ricardo travelled to West Point Military Academy with other leaders of the Atlanta Falcons team to say thank you to those serving and participate in leadership military-based training.
Ricardo is the definition of positive character on and off the field. Over his years with the team, Ricardo has developed into one of the most influential leaders with the Atlanta Falcons. His leadership has taken flight since his first season with the team when he was drafted in the 5th round. Since his elevation to the 53-man roster in 2015, Ricardo's career has soared. His statistics tell his story on the field, but there is a whole other piece of Ricardo Allen that only the team is lucky to see and feel.
In a team meeting last season, while Ricardo was on Injured Reserve, Head Coach Dan Quinn raised the question to the entire room, "Who in this room has been personally affected, touched or made a better man because of Ricardo Allen?" The whole room stood up.