As is the case for many around the NFL, the New England Patriots are engaging in different dialogue this offseason beyond football. While the COVID-19 pandemic has physically separated players and coaches for months, the need to discuss race relations while the country is at a crossroads has brought them together.
About two dozen members of the Patriots participated in roundtable conversations on racism in America as part of a special episode of Patriots All Access, which aired Friday on WBZ at 7 p.m. EST.
Below are some of the poignant messages from the show:
Linebacker Jerod Mayo:
"What we're looking for is progress, it's all about progress. You think about this problem, this is a generational problem, the divisiveness. This has been going on for hundreds of years."
Fullback Jakob Johnson:
"Coming to America was really the first time I experienced getting treated differently because of my skin color. I was always aware that I was a little different in Germany around the other kids, but the fact that that I could be discriminated or treated badly because of the color of my skin, that didn't happen to me until I came over here."
Center David Andrews:
"Growing up in the South to some extent you're ignorant to some of it, especially growing up in football locker rooms. The way you see the world from a locker room perspective and growing up in sports is not really how the world works on the outside. I think that's something I've really noticed in the last few years. Having conversations with guys in our locker room and now even guys that I haven't talked to in a while from college, there's definitely been a lot of good from it but it's definitely heartbreaking just to see all the hatred in the world."
Cornerback Jason McCourty:
"To see people care because what was going on and what has gone on in our country for so many years, to get out and peacefully protest or to get out and express yourself in whichever way you see fit because at the end of the day, when you want change and you want things to move in a different direction, you have to make noise. I do see a future and I do have hope that things will change in this country."
To watch the full episode of "All Access" on Patriots.com, click here.