A letter from Players Coalition Co-Founder Anquan Boldin:
As athletes, it's important for us to use the platform we have been afforded to create positive change. I am attempting to do so because I see an urgent need for positive change in our country. People, particularly young people, look to us as role models and they mimic what we do. Plenty of people have talked about the change they want to see, but now it's time for us to start putting in the work needed to create that change. It's easy to sit back and talk about what you would like to see happen in the future, but it's not always easy to do the actual work needed to make it a reality.
If we really want to create a world in which everyone is equal, no matter the color of your skin, your religion or your economic background, we need change. We all agree in equality. Rich and poor should be held accountable the same as White, Black, Latino, Native American; there should be no disparity across the board.
As Americans, that is our stated creed, it's what we say we believe in. But equality and accountability are missing; there are too many injustices in our justice system. We are supposed to be the leaders of the free world, but the way we treat each other within our own country, to me, is unacceptable.
We need citizens to get involved. Understand what's happening in your community. We need people to go out and vote. Don't simply vote for party affiliations or because a candidate is popular; make them earn your vote with their actions and their work. Too often we hear regular citizens say what they want to see happen. But they don't think about the power they hold to create that change by voting for the representatives who can bring about meaningful change with specific legislation to support it.
Finally, listen to each other. Everyone wants the right to be heard, but it's just as important to listen to others and to put yourself in their shoes. We need true empathy for one another. To truly empathize with someone else, you need to understand their point of view, and you can't do that if you don't at least listen to where they are coming from.
One of the most impactful things I've been a part of since retiring is participating in discussions and panels where I've been fortunate enough to hear the perspectives of others. These experiences have reinforced what I was taught as a child; that I am no better than the next man, we are all equal as human beings, and talking about our differences can't help but unite us in at least better understanding each other. As not only fellow Americans but human beings, I believe that would start us on the right track.