NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent, the highest-ranking black person in the league office, put a personal touch Wednesday on the conversations about police brutality and racial injustice.
Vincent first tweeted about “The Talk,” given by black fathers to their children on how they should interact with police. Vincent said he and his wife had it with their 19-year-old son before he returned to Ohio State.
“Before he left, my normal routine of getting his car ready began with checking every headlight and tail light, and making sure the brake lights were working properly. I located his insurance card and registration, and double checked that had his drivers license,” Vincent wrote.
Vincent also said he removed trash such as gum wrappers, sandwich bags and water bottles from the car so as not to give police an opening to suspect illegal activity were they to pull over his son on the drive to Columbus.
“I want a future for black children that doesn’t require ‘the talk’ as a survival tactic,” he wrote.
Vincent wrote in response to the death last week of George Floyd, who died at the knee of a former Minneapolis police officer, and other highly publicized killings of black Americans.
“As our nation processes the death of George Floyd, the one thing that I hope we can all agree on: He should still be alive,” Vincent wrote. “His story, like so many others — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Ayiana Stanley Jones — deserves more honor than to end in a hashtag that is circulated until the next viral, senseless death is upon us.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Saturday night the league recognizes “the power of (the NFL’s) platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society.” Goodell’s statement was met with derision and references to Colin Kaepnick’s pregame protests in 2016 against brutality and injustice. The league pushed back strongly against Kaepernick and those who joined him in taking a knee. Kaepernick has been a free agent since after the 2016 season.
Team owners, coaches and players alike have weighed in since Goodell’s announcement, offering divergent opinions on Kaepernick’s protests but mostly unity on the issues he was trying to spotlight. Vincent said he has had conversations with many of those people in recent days.
“As a leader in the NFL, it was not only my duty, but also a responsibility, to check in with the men and women with whom I work on a daily basis,” he wrote.
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