Larry Fitzgerald Jr.: 'As a nation, we are not OK'

The Minneapolis native gave his thoughts on the George Floyd riots in Sunday's New York Times.

Athletes across the world have given their opinions in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, but for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the situation has hit closer to home.

In an essay for Sunday's edition of the New York Times, the Minneapolis native offered his own thoughts, stating that the city he grew up in isn't the one he recognized growing up.

"For as long as I have known it, Minneapolis has been a city of peace, family and contentment," Fitzgerald said. "But not right now."

"The events of the last several days have turned Minneapolis, and our nation, upside down. Injustice, death, destruction, pain, violence, protests, and riots have made it clear — we as a nation are not OK. We are not healthy."

The essay went on with Fitzgerald saying he's never experienced harassment from the Minneapolis Police Department, but has witnessed situations "where people of color were not given the same benefit of the doubt and the same respect that was afforded to others."

Fitzgerald also stated that the people of America "are not listening to one another" and it's up for the elected leaders, officials and people in power to listen.

"We must refuse to allow the screams of the unheard to be disregarded," he wrote. "We must act. Good people may find themselves a part of a broken system but must take it upon themselves to bring about the needed change. If you are silent and passive you are complicit in upholding the status quo."

Fitzgerald grew up in Minneapolis where he starred on the gridiron for the Academy of Holy Angels before heading off to the University of Pittsburgh and the Arizona Cardinals to embark on a Hall of Fame-caliber career. 

A lot of those memories are also mentioned in the piece such as learning to catch a football at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and walking the streets of Minneapolis that have now been heavily damaged in the wake of the riots after Floyd's death.

At the end of the essay, Fitzgerald made sure that the victims of police brutality crimes have not been forgotten.

"George Floyd, in your final gasps for breath, we hear you, Fitzgerald said. "Breonna Taylor, in your besieged home, we hear you. Ahmaud Arbery, as your footsteps pounded the ground, running for your life, we hear you." 

"Victims of violence, poverty and injustice, we hear you. Communities and lives torn apart by riots, we hear you. People of privilege learning a better way, we hear you. Mothers and fathers of every race doing the best you can to teach your children to love and not hate, we hear you."

"May God give us all ears to hear so that the cries of the unheard are never again compelled to scream in desperation."

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