Former Ravens Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed believes that honest dialogue about race relations is extremely important in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.
Reed was a guest Wednesday on The Rich Eisen Show, and he discussed what must change to improve the current climate of unrest.
"We have to have better communication," Reed said. "We have to address the elephant in the room as people. Everybody needs to speak on it. Everybody from all walks of life, all backgrounds, ethnicities, creed."
During his 11 seasons with the Ravens, Reed established himself as one of the greatest defensive players of all time, making the Pro Bowl nine times, winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2004 and helping Baltimore win Super Bowl XLVII.
He has used his platform to spearhead community outreach programs in both Baltimore and in his native New Orleans through his work with the Ed Reed Foundation. Reed is revered in his hometown because he regularly comes back and gives back. Last summer, through his foundation, construction began on Ed Reed Park in his hometown.
He has always acknowledged that family members, coaches, teachers, and friends from different backgrounds and races played a key role in shaping his upbringing.
As a Raven, Reed was respected not only for his ability, but because he rarely shied away from sharing his thoughts with teammates and coaches, even when some of his opinions made people uncomfortable. Playing sports taught Reed about overcoming adversity, and he told Eisen that America can learn valuable lessons from these difficult times.
"I have a son, I have my nieces, my nephews," Reed said. "I have a bunch of kids that my foundation helps out. So you have to think about the future. You can't look at what's happening now (in our country) and (be) thinking that it's over. This is not the end, it's a new beginning."