Each of us might think differently about what good will come out of the recent unrest about racism that swept across America. But in Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, baby boomer Pat O’Donnell sees at least one positive act from what he would have thought is a most unlikely source. Now he’s ready to ask, just in case there is an NFL season this year, Are you ready for some football???
I never thought I would say anything, let alone write, about pro football doing something right and positive. Until now, after reading that Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, two-time All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu, and my hometown team, the Kansas City Chiefs, are planning a new voter registration effort.
In recent years I have been outspoken about the behavior, or misbehavior, of a few pro athletes, especially when it comes to domestic violence. My opinion has been that many of them act as though they deserve special privileges and can do what they want. When I learned of Patrick and Tyrann’s plan to develop a voter registration effort, it made me rethink some of my earlier views.
Here is what Mahomes, who is bi-racial, told John Dixon of the fan-centric website, arrowheadpride.com:
“It came from talking and listening to teammates and people throughout our organization,” he said. ”Obviously, with voting coming up for our local offices and everything like that, we wanted to make sure that was on the front of our mind. We’ve talked about several things— nothing that is completely [formed] in stone— [but] voter registration was one big one that we really want to move forward with.”
“If we are to really give those people a voice,” said Mathieu, who is black, ”and really allow those people to go into their communities and really select their leaders, I think that’s going to be very, very important going forward. I think if you’re going to change anything, you’re going to have to educate people on what it is that they have to do to change things— more than just protesting. They have to really find a call to action. I think that it can impact a lot of people. I think that you can really see a good change.”
The two said they have already spoken to Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and team president Mark Donovan about their plans. And since their announcement, they have joined forces with basketball superstar LaBron James’s effort to protect voting rights, “More than a Vote.” Mahomes tweeted, “Change isn’t made by watching from the sidelines. Let’s do this.”
I congratulate all involved. Players like these and plans like this will begin to fix some of the things our generation couldn’t.
If number 15, quarterback Mahomes, keeps behaving like this, I might finally cheer for the Chiefs, (except when they play the Denver Broncos; that would be a step too far).