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Judon: It will Take a Collaborative Effort to Bring Meaningful Change to Society 

OLB Matthew Judon
OLB Matthew Judon

Matthew Judon was inspired by the video released by the Ravens last week, in which owner Steve Bisciotti and numerous members of the organization supported the Black Lives Matter movement. Usually, the Ravens bond with the focus on winning football games. But the team's Pro Bowl outside linebacker participated in the video and was pleased to see the Ravens make a strong unified statement regarding issues that impact every member of society.

"We all are here for a common goal," Judon said during a Monday video conference call. "And usually it's to win football games, but right now, it's bigger than football. It's an issue that needs to be addressed, and it has nothing to do with a win or a loss.

"I felt that it was huge that our owner got up there and said what he said, and the players said what they said, and how [the video] was made, because there are guys from a lot of different backgrounds, but we all want the same thing."

Judon was asked if the team planned to take a knee during the national anthem during the 2020 season. While saying no decision had been made, Judon said discussions would continue about what forms of activism the team should take.

"As of right now, I can't give you a response to that question, because I don't think we came to a resolution on what we want to do as a team and as a unit," Judon said. "But we are having very deep conversations about this because that's real life for all of us.

"We want to put an end to racism, whether that will be on the football field, or in classrooms, or wherever it may be. There's really no room for it in today's world."

The public stance of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has changed recently following the gruesome death of George Floyd that sparked worldwide protests and conversation. Goodell released a video June 5 in which he said, "Black Lives Matter", and he apologized for not listening to players sooner.

During an ESPN interview Monday night, Goodell said he would "encourage" any NFL team to sign Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has not played in the league since 2016. That was the year in which Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial inequality.

Judon said Goodell's recent comments about social injustice and Kaepernick should have been made years ago.

"My life [has] mattered since Aug. 15, 1992," Judon said. "I think we should've been questioning why Roger Goodell didn't say, 'Black Lives Matter,' when he was born, or when he became commissioner, or when he was re-elected commissioner. Racism is not a cool thing. It's not a trend, like, 'OK, now let's all get behind [it].'

"Whoever is now saying it, they should've been saying it. When 'Kap' came out and said, 'It's not about The Star-Spangled Banner. It's not about the song. It's not about the troops. It's about how my people are being treated.' There shouldn't have been pushback. It should've been, 'OK, let's help this man and his cause.' That was just his way of expressing it. He did it very peacefully. He didn't make a ruckus about it. He didn't take pictures of himself. He didn't publicize it. When he was asked about it, he explained himself in a manner of which people should've understood. I'm with all the protests that we have to do and all of the progress that we have to make. I'm with all of that, but it's not because Roger Goodell said, 'Black Lives Matter.'"

Regardless of what he says or does, Judon realizes it will take a collaborative effort to bring meaningful change to society. He's not claiming to have the solutions, but he's willing to work toward finding answers.

"It's not a me thing, and I don't have the right answers," Judon said. "I think it's a collective group of people who need to come together and talk to people. They might have the right answers, but I don't have the right answers, so I'm not going to thrust myself into the front of this movement acting like I know exactly what to do. I'm not [going to], and that's not for me to do."

However, Judon said the Ravens video struck the right tone regarding subjects that are vitally important.

"I commend every man that got on that video and spoke from their heart, and we all need to listen and educate ourselves more on the topics," Judon said. "I feel like the video speaks for itself, and it was very powerful."

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