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The tragic shooting death in Georgia of Ahmaud Arbery has made national headlines and caught the attention of the Players Coalition. The group, which is composed of current and former NFL players, has sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray asking for a federal investigation into the shooting. What is the Players Coalition?

What is the Players Coalition?

The mission statement on the Players Coalition web site is succinct and to the point: Players Coalition exists to end social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have an opportunity to thrive without barriers. 

To achieve social and racial equality, Players Coalition uses its influence and support to impact systemic social and civic change. It does this by focusing on three key pillars: police and community relations, criminal justice reform, and education and economic advancement.

The organization was co-founded in 2017 by former 14-year NFL receiver, Anquan Boldin, who won the NFL 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and 11-year veteran defensive back Malcolm Jenkins, and winner of the 2017 NFLPA Alan Page Community Award. It is governed by a task force board of 12 voting members. 

The organization continues to add ambassadors with the collective goal of making a difference at the federal, state, and local levels through advocacy, awareness, education, and allocation of resources. The members are solution-focused and invest personal time and resources to educate themselves on issues directly affecting their communities to identify where their influence can have the greatest impact. 

Players Coalition tackles numerous community issues  

While relatively small in number, the organization’s members use their influence in a variety of ways, including authoring op-ed pieces in newspapers around the country. In the last six months, there have been numerous editorials penned by the organization’s members.

New Orleans Saints LB Demario Davis wrote an op-ed in January on prison violence in the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. In December 2019, Boldin and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Carl Davis co-wrote a piece in the Des Moines Register that focused on criminal justice reform.

In addition to publications, the members have traveled to communities across the country and participated in a variety of panel discussions such as the New Orleans Public Defender Town Hall, Philadelphia Policing Town Hall, and Cook County State Attorney’s Forum. In these panels, the players offer thoughts and opinions on the issues and are often moderators and facilitators of the discussion. 

Grantmaking a vital part of the organization

While the members of the Players Coalition are personally active within their own communities, the organization also has a grantmaking component designed to support systemic change and elevate the work of other nonprofit organizations that provide direct service and value to impacted individuals and communities.

To ensure dollars are spent most effectively, the organization proactively selects the grantees and does not accept unsolicited funding requests. The Coalition works closely with evidence-based, subject matter experts to make decisions based on its primary areas of focus as determined by the current social and political landscape.

This focused funding benefits a select few grantees and allows them to accelerate their positive impact on root issues around social justice and racial equality.

The Players Coalition has only been around a couple of years but has made a significant impact in communities across the nation. With the continued addition of new members and new ideas, you can expect to see the Players Coalition making more headlines and, more importantly, creating more positive societal changes in the future.