“[Racism] Is Not Something He’s…Just Now Learning” | Joe Burrow’s Racial Justice Acknowledgement Gains Respect

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The world is learning more about Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow now that he is in his first Super Bowl.

Aside from being one of the coolest quarterbacks since “Broadway Joe” Namath, Burrow has levels, and all the reports are coming back intriguing.

A glimpse into how Burrow has galvanized his team might stem from a moment where he “won the team over” during an emotional meeting about racial injustice back in the summer of 2020.

Joe’s Revelation

Defensive tackle D.J. Reader described to ESPN this week how the Cincinnati Bengals held a meeting at team headquarters. The meeting was in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

During the protest movement that galvanized the nation and subsequently the world against racial injustice, Bengals players discussed the severe issues affecting the country in the meeting.

While addressing the team, Burrow told a personal story about racial injustice towards a Black teammate that he witnessed during their high school basketball days in Athens, Ohio.

Racial Encounter

Burrow recanted how the fans in the stands were yelling racial slurs at his friend during a game which made him so upset it shook him.

Asking his friend what it felt like after the game, the two of them sat in the back of the team bus, and Burrow made a vow to fight racial injustice for the rest of his life.

“He kind of broke down talking about it,” Reader said to ESPN. “He’s a guy who stood there and he supported his friend as he should because you know it’s not right. As a person, it meant a lot to hear how he stood up for him. [Racism] is not something he’s not just now learning.”

Burrow The Leader

Reader saw Burrow’s revelation not only as authentic but as a testament to his leadership. He also felt that it was “good to hear from someone on the opposite side” honestly discuss the struggle during the meeting.

It highlighted Burrow’s intrinsic leadership abilities for Reader.

“He stands on what he says,” Reader continued.

Jim Burrow, the father of Joe, also confirmed the story to ESPN, revealing that Joe told him about what happened to his friend after the game. According to Jim, the incident was “disappointing for all of us” and “heartbreaking.”

Blue-Eyed Soul Football: Is Joe Burrow The New Joe Namath For The Culture?

Opened His Eyes

“I think it opened his eyes that something like that could happen,” Jim said this week. “For us, just the normal core values we grew up with: Always show respect, treat people with respect no matter who they are, what their background is, and be willing to help others when you can.”

Tonight, Joe Burrow looks to manifest his respect into his first Super Bowl win, and if his impactful words are any indication, his team will show up for him.

‘You Are Not 50 Cent’| Domonique Foxworth Sends A Message To Joe Burrow As Bengals QB Prepares For L.A. Rams Pass Rush 

Going head-to-head against Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams, the former Detroit Lions quarterback seeks to cement his legacy in the latter part of his career.

However, with respect Burrow has built, he makes an excellent case for the loyalty it takes to win a Super Bowl.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.