Matt Ryan said he is listening and learning. Now, he is putting action behind his words.
In wake of George Floyd’s death and protests, the Falcons quarterback has created the “Advancing The Lives (ATL) Of The Black Community” fund.
Ryan made the announcement on social media and started the account with his own $500,000 donation.
“Last week I made a commitment to listening and learning, and one of the messages that hit home for me was the difference between reacting to a situation and responding to a situation. For far too long I have reacted to social injustice with empathy and silent support but failed to follow through with active support. I feel the time has come to RESPOND. For ALL of us to respond," Ryan said on Instagram.
The goal right now is set at $2 million, the same number as Ryan’s jersey, and aside from his donation, 100,000 has been raised so far.
“I see my city hurting, which is why I’m starting a fundraiser to help improve the community for people of color in the city of Atlanta. I’m kicking it off with a $500K donation and am asking you to consider donating as well. Whether big or small, you will be joining me in making a difference," Ryan said.
“Over the next few weeks/months I’ll be really listening to the needs of the community and working with black business leaders, sports figures, activists and local grassroots organizations to get guidance on how these donations can be most impactful. Let’s rise up as a community. It’s time.”
Ryan is one of many NFL players who has spoken up about the death of George Floyd in recent weeks.
Black NFL players, including Gainesville native Deshaun Watson, came together for a message, saying what happened Floyd could have happened to any of them.
“I am George Floyd. I am Breonna Taylor. I am Ahmaud Arbery. I am Eric Garner. I am Laquan McDonald. I am Tamir Rice. I am Trayvon Martin. I am Walter Scott. I am Michael Brown Jr. I am Samuel DuBose. I am Frank Smart. I am Phillip White. I am Jordan Baker.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded Friday, apologizing for not listening to the players who have peacefully protested over the years.