Members of the Players’ Coalition, a group started by National Football League (NFL) stars during protest movement started by Colin Kaepernick by kneeling down during National Anthem before matches, urged citizens of the United States to vote in the Tuesday midterm election.
A letter, written and signed by Washington’s Josh Norman, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Chris Long, the New York Jets’ Kelvin Beachum, and former Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte, published Monday on the Players’ Tribune, said, “our lives depend on it.”
“Right now, our collective national identity is one of pain and despair, of confusion and anger. We are fractured, we are hurting and too many are finding themselves as mourners… We may have deep scars, but… We have always been able to reclaim our identity,” the letter says.
“On November 6, we can return to that place. We can raise our voice and remind our officials and each other that we are more than the hate we have seen."
Urging the voters to cast their ballots, the players wrote, “If you think your vote doesn’t matter, just look at how hard certain officials are trying to suppress it.”
The letter while pointed out how voter suppression is widespread with scores of voter registrations have been canceled, especially citizens belonging to minority communities.
“..the gerrymandering causes the dispersal of minority voters amongst strangely drawn districts, meaning their voices become so diluted they effectively have no representation,” argued the players.
The letter also highlighted how Native American voters are being obstructed to vote in North Dakota due to the strict rule of I.D. requirement.
“The magnitude of our decisions this November is huge. The senators that we elect will pick the justices who preside over federal courts for decades, giving them an enormous influence over how our Constitution and Bill of Rights will be interpreted,” continued the letter.
“The representatives we put into Congress will decide what the future of health care looks like for us and for our children, what taxes are paid and by whom, and whether the natural environment of our planet is protected. And these future members of the United States government will decide whether to preach messages of hope and unity, or messages of hate and division.”
The letter concludes with a message which says, “On November 6, we can demand better. For each one of us, for our families, for our neighbors. Vote. Our lives depend on it.”
The Players’ Coalition negotiated a deal with the NFL that led the league to donate US$89 million towards social justice projects. But some NFL players feel that the donation was made to stop players from following Kaepernick’s protest movement.