Many professional athletes have voiced their concerns about racism and police brutality that has been going on across the country. Stafford decided to speak out on how he experienced racism toward his Black teammates.
Matthew Stafford has had a lot of individual success during his time in Detroit
The Lions took Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. They knew that they wanted Stafford to be their quarterback for many years. Stafford is currently in his 12th season with the Lions, and he has had a lot of success during his time in Detroit. In his third NFL season, Stafford put together an impressive season. He threw for 5,038 yards with 41 touchdowns, which were both career-highs. Stafford was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year that season after missing most of the 2010 season due to an injury.
Though the Lions have not had much success as a team, Stafford continued to put up impressive numbers over the years. During the 2015 season, Stafford reached 25,000 passing yards in his 90th career game and became the fastest quarterback to reach that milestone.
From 2012 to 2017, Stafford threw for over 4,000 yards each season. During that span, the Lions made the playoffs twice in 2014 and 2016. At 32, Stafford still has shown that he’s an elite quarterback, and he is eager to lead the Lions to a successful season. In 2017, he signed a $135 million contract extension with Detroit, which made him the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time.
Matthew Stafford speaking out about witnessing racism
Stafford wrote an essay recently on The Player’s Tribune, and he talked about witnessing racism against his teammates firsthand in the spring while he was working out in Georgia. In the essay, Stafford wrote that he went to go workout with Danny Amendola one week at a field. This was something that Stafford planned, and he did not have any issues.
The next week Stafford went to the same field, but this time it was with four Black teammates, and they were asked to leave the field.
“We were just starting to dump all the footballs out on the field and some of the guys were still stretching when a gentleman came out and told us that we were trespassing — and to leave immediately. We didn’t even have our cleats on yet. I remember I was standing there in my socks, just kind of stunned and confused, like, What?” Stafford wrote. “But he didn’t even want to listen. We were still gathering up the footballs and trying to figure out another spot where we might be able to go when the gentleman pulled out his cellphone.”
“He said, ‘I’m calling the police.’ After everything that we’ve witnessed over the last few months, and how situations can escalate for no reason at all … and here the police are being called.”
Stafford could not believe what happened, and it’s an experience he will never forget.
Matthew Stafford was embarrassed for putting his teammates in that situation
Stafford went to a field to practice with his teammates and left in disappointment because of what transpired. What he and his teammates went through was just a snapshot of what has been going on throughout the country for so many years. Recently, Stafford has been a lot more vocal about what’s been going on, and he’s making sure that his voice is heard.
“There are still people in this country who just want sports to be a distraction, and that’s their right. But I beg to differ,” Stafford said. Football won’t be the only thing on Stafford’s mind during the 2020 season, along with many others who have voiced their concerns about police brutality and racism. It’s good to see athletes using their platforms to speak out and not just focus on playing sports.