Intent on being a solution to the problem of systemic racism in society, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray said he will join the growing list of NFL players who plan to kneel during the playing of the national anthem this season.
Several players are planning to kneel amid protests in the U.S., and Murray will join that group.
“Yeah, I’ll be kneeling,” the 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year told reporters Wednesday during a Zoom conference. “I stand for what’s right, that’s the bottom line. I call it like I see it. I’ll definitely be taking a knee.”
Murray also praised the swarm of peaceful protests around the country sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, calling them a step toward ending racial injustice and police brutality.
“There is a lot of hate in this world, but at the same time, what’s happening and what we’re seeing right now, it’s huge,” he said. “I don’t condone rioting and stuff like that, but the peaceful protests, I think they’re great, they’re amazing. Whether it takes years, I feel like we’re getting there. At least we’re making a step towards it.”
As a high-profile black quarterback, Murray added that he believes he bears a responsibility to be more vocal on issues such as social justice and race relations than he was as a rookie.
“If it’s wrong, I’m going to say it’s wrong. I feel like, personally, it’s on everybody to hold each other accountable, but more so from me,” he said.
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“If you’ve got white friends that feel this certain type of way, don’t understand what’s going on, it’s on me to educate them as well as black, Hispanic, any other ethnicity.
“We’re all human and I feel like we should all be treated equally. I don’t get the debate on why anyone shouldn’t be treated equally because of their skin color. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it is what it is right now and we’re trying to fix it.”
Murray’s comments came on the same day the Cardinals announced they will make June 19 — the day slaves were officially declared free by the U.S. government following the end of the Civil War — a permanent holiday within the organization.
The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick is one of several Cardinals players, including longtime wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who have spoken out about Floyd’s killing and race relations in recent weeks. He is also the second starting quarterback to publicly state he will be kneeling during the anthem, joining the Browns’ Baker Mayfield, a close friend of Murray and a former college teammate at Oklahoma.