Andy Reid spoke to reporters about the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In one of the most impassioned press conferences Andy Reid has ever given since his arrival in Kansas City, the Chiefs head coach spoke to reporters via teleconference on Thursday about the current state of race relations in America and his “complete support” of Black Lives Matter.
From the outset, it was clear that Reid was ready to share his excitement about the recent statements and actions of Chiefs players as well as the National Football League. Reid’s opening remarks ran for quite some time as he wanted to share his perspective on the Black Lives Matter movement and the role of Chiefs players, such as Patrick Mahomes and Tyrann Mathieu, in a recent video released asking the NFL to support it.
Here’s some of what Reid shared as he opened his time with reporters:
"“With the racial issues going on now, it breaks my heart. I’m an old head, so I’ve been around long enough to have seen a few generations come through including my own and I’m so happy, so fired up about our younger generation, man. They’re taking it and they’re attacking this thing the right way. I just think we have this great country and these kids know how great this contry is. They absolutely know how great it is and all they want to do is make it better. And I think that’s a beautiful thing, especially, as I said, I’m not getting any ounger. I’ve got grandkids and I’m blessed that these guys and ladies are doing this and standing up for what they believe.“I was lucky enough to grow up around diverse cultures and religions and everything in Los Angeles, and obviously I was in sports at the same time, so my respect for people is for that—for people. We’re sitting here with this push on Black Lives Matter and absolutely they matter, man. I think it’s a beautiful thing. I’m in complete support with them. I believe in communication. I believe in what my parents taught me about, at times like this, you have large ears, man. You sit and you listen and you learn and you become better. So that’s where I’m at.”"
From there, Reid went on to explain that Chiefs players are part of a larger effort to assist with voter registration and education but plans for that are currently being solidified. An announcement should be forthcoming next week, per Reid, and fans should expect the Chiefs as an organization to be completely behind the players and their work on the ground.
Even more, Reid had nothing but praise for the entire organization and the way that they’ve supported the players. Despite recent remarks by former Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson, Reid painted a much different picture of the culture in K.C. from the leadership on down. When asked about team owner Clark Hunt’s involvement and perspective, Reid explained his appreciation for the team’s culture.
"“Clark was unbelievable,” said Reid. “He was so proud of those guys. He called them and talked to them. That’s how Clark does. However people see it, he’s unbelievable with the guys in that way. He’s all in and our guys know it. That’s why you don’t hear a lot of chatter. Those guys know they have an open ear to talk to, whether it’s Clark, Mark [Donovan, team president], Brett [Veach, general manager], myself. It’s an open ear. We’re there to listen and we’re all in it together. That’s what we’re doing. We’re a team. That’s what team is. That’s the beauty of this thing.”"
Reid was even excited to hear the response of the NFL to the players’ video, calling commissioner Roger Goodell a “stud” in that moment. Goodell responded to the video by admitting the NFL was wrong in its organizational approach in the first place and how they failed to listen to and support its own players when players like Colin Kaepernick were first attempting to bring attention to police brutality.
Here’s Reid’s words on Goodell and the response from the league:
"“I think Roger, he was a stud right there. That’s a hard thing to do, to say ‘I was wrong.’ How many of us have a hard time saying that? And listen, time can do that to you. We’ve all been in that position where things change. It’s changing right now. How great is that? Every generation has changed in some way to get us to this point and now we get to put it down and end it.”"
From the entire press conference, it was clear that Reid believes a beautiful moment for all of us has arrived. As he said, it’s a chance to listen and learn. It’s a chance for a nation to heal. It’s also a chance for the most popular sport in America to take a pivotal position in a national conversation and movement. As Reid said, “It makes the NFL better. It’s going to make our country better. We live in a great place.”