To open his media availability on Friday, San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman said, “before we talk about football, I wanted to bring up some important things that are important to me, in terms of social injustice and issues I see in our country. Before my media obligations, I want to shed some light on some things that are important to me. I think we should all educate ourselves and think a little bit more about it. That’s my goal in this, to educate, create dialogue, and create conversation. Today I want to highlight the rise in hate crimes. I think we have to ask ourselves why that is?”
Armstead cited a couple of statistics on the type of people suffering in the country due to hate crimes. He seemed passionate about the topic and wanted to ensure that we don’t ignore the real world around us as football returns. I respect Armstead for that, and I hope that he continues to talk about social injustice during the season. Armstead said he plans to continue to bring up different topics each time he has media availability based on his readings and findings.
Armstead said he felt like it was his responsibility and duty as a citizen to “push the needle” and educate by using his platform to speak out on what’s wrong with the US. This is a way of adding value to society and the people around him. Armstead said he’s aware that people look up to him and care about what he says, so he’ll use his voice to spread positivity.
Armstead was asked if this is something that he talks to his teammates about:
Nah. I come up with ideas in my head on how to do things. I’m sure my teammates or will hear about it if they feel moved or led to do something similar or try to educate and use their platforms in many different ways. I’ve been proud to see some of my teammates already doing that. But yeah, no conversations before. My only goal is to educate. Maybe they see it, and we can have a further conversation in the locker room.
I asked Arik what’s the best way to approach somebody who is ignorant or oblivious to what’s going on in the country. He mentioned how we have to do a better job of talking to people that “don’t look like you” and have those tough conversations. Here’s what Arik said:
It’s simple encounters you can have, whether it’s walking down the street or in the store. [Just] saying hi, being nice, knocking down that wall, that invisible wall that maybe there when someone doesn’t know you. People can be pleasantly surprised, like, hey, that’s a nice person. They didn’t have to do that. Showing genuine care or want to, to learn about other people. Not being so self-absorbed where you only care about what’s going on in your life and the people you know. Try to show interest in some other things that you don’t have experience on. I think those are two simple ways where you can start knocking down those walls and create unity.