Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said Tuesday that he and his Seahawks teammates have spent "hours and hours and hours" talking about social issues such as race discrimination.
"I'm sure if people filmed our discussions and really, really saw how deep we dive into it then they would understand how seriously we are taking these issues," said Sherman, whose Blanket Coverage foundation aims at providing greater opportunities for students in low-income communities. "I think at this point it is an unfortunate time we are living in. It is unfortunate that kids have to deal with discrimination and things like that. That kids have to deal with underfunded schools, just because their skin is a certain pigment. I think that's unfortunate."
Sherman joined defensive end Michael Bennett, who addressed social issues while wearing a 'Black Lives Matter' t-shirt this past Saturday, as Seattle players to speak up on important non-football topics through the first four days of training camp.
"My message to the kids," Sherman began. "And that's always who I speak to, because they are the future, they are the next generation, they are the innocent souls who had nothing to do with this. I think it's going to be powerful once we come together and understand that these kids didn't do anything wrong, these kids didn't pick the color they were born. They have extra pigment in their skin. It is not to say they don't need great schooling, it's not to say they need to be ostracized when they go to a great school. We are talking, having those talks, and Mike B [Michael Bennett] and Cliff [Avril] were talking about their kids going to school and you know, they go to pretty affluent schools and they are one of the few minorities in the school and they have to deal with those issues. They have to deal with being ostracized and being asked questions why your skin is brown and things like that. I don't think any kid, anybody, should have to deal with that and that goes on to talk about the issues we have going forward that adults shouldn't have to deal with that.
"You treat everybody the same," he added. "You treat everybody equally regardless of what your job, your duty as a human being, you treat everybody equally. I think that is what I want to emphasize. That's what I want people to understand, that come on, just get past the color of people's skins, nobody picks the color of their skin. We're black people, we're born brown, you know etc, etc. We should not be dealt with a different way just because of that and that's what I want to emphasize to the kids, because kids, you're powerful. You're strong. You're intelligent. You're amazing people and don't let people tell you otherwise because that's the truth of the matter. Sometimes you lose that, you lose sight of that because society doesn't give you that power, they don't give you that equal opportunity and that is what my foundation is all about; giving kids equal opportunities. Sometimes adults get caught up in their ways, stuck in their ways. You can't control that. You can't change it.
"But with these kids I think they need to understand that they are powerful, they are incredible, they're unique. Obviously, your skin color makes you unique to some degree. You walk around in Europe you are going to stand out a little bit, but just understand you're a beautiful person."
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