There’s an old adage in sports: Rookies are to be seen and not heard.
Rookie QB Joe Burrow is the new kid on the Bengals block. He hasn’t been to Paul Brown Stadium since the draft.He’s yet to even take a snap in a Bengals practice.
But while Burrow hasn’t seen his teammates in person, he was heard this weekend. He tweeted, offering reaction to the murder of George Floyd and ongoing societal issues.
“The black community needs our help. They have been unheard for far too long. Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights.”
1 tweet. 27 words, 128 characters from a 23-year old.
Sure, it’s easy to say something that any reasonable person would agree with. But a glance at some of the over three-thousand comments posted on Burrow’s Twitter feed reveals the pockets of pushback:
-Make sure you cover everyone Joe, not just black.
-Nice Pandering Joe!
-You just lost a follower. This is not why most people are following you bud.
-White people on here are mad that one of their own cares about black people…that’s the funny thing.
To be fair, Burrow isn’t the only athlete, or even the only NFL quarterback to comment. My Google search turned up statements by the likes of QB’s Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill.
But Burrow is a rookie, without a contract and with expectations of many endorsement opportunities coming his way.
It would have been easier for Burrow to stay quiet and say nothing. Silence would have been chalked up to him being the watch-and-learn rookie.
But as a team leader and someone who recognizes his platform and responsibility to speak up, Burrow chose to comment. Good for him.
While he hasn’t met most of his teammates, I’d think Burrow’s tweet can help connect them in a way that will serve the locker room well going forward.
Perhaps his words can be a step towards helping connect all of us on a much larger level.