Retirement is an emotional moment that the majority of people in that position will experience, regardless of their occupation.
When an athlete retires, there’s usually more attention given to the moment, sometimes through an emotional press conference where the athlete tearfully announces their retirement while surrounded by friends, family and teammates.
NFL veteran Rishard Matthews took a different approach to retirement, bypassing the press conference and instead choosing to compose a poem-like announcement on Instagram entitled “No Longer Exist” to both reveal his departure and reflect on the game of football.
“People using me for entertainment and not understanding that I am a Black Man in America No Longer Exist.”
Matthews got a lot off of his chest and acknowledged the reality that many Black athletes are now finally comprehending, that the color of their skin will matter more in America than their athletic prowess.
The wide receiver played in the NFL for seven seasons, his best seasons coming in his three years with the Titans where he caught 121 passes for 1,751 yards and 13 TDs.
While Matthews acknowledges what the game of football has both given him and enabled him to do, he simultaneously recognizes the pitfalls that being a professional athlete entails, and he leaves us all with something to think about instead of something to watch.