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Von Miller calls NFL owners to action in editorial on racial injustice

Denver Broncos superstar Von Miller has implored NFL owners in a powerful essay to “walk the walk” when it comes to joining the battle against racial injustice.

Miller’s challenge came in an editorial written for TIME published online Tuesday.

Miller’s call to action follows his appearance over the weekend at a downtown Denver rally in which the veteran Broncos linebacker was joined by 50 teammates and 20 coaches on a subsequent march.

In his editorial, Miller shares how the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody brought back memories of when he was called a racial slur in elementary school. To that point, Miller wrote that Floyd’s death has caused him to relive the pain from the racism he has experienced throughout his life.

“Since George Floyd died, tears have overcome me at least once a day,” Miller wrote. “And then, as I thought about it, I have felt this pain in varying degrees for as far back as I can remember.”

Miller expressed hope in the essay that while efforts to address systemic racism and police misconduct have failed in the past, “this time may be different,” as the “entire country is engaged.”

“If we can find the strength to come together as a people and fight for healing and change, then together we can enjoy the sunshine of our American ideals,” Miller wrote. “If we do not choose this course, we can expect the darkness to remain.”

After receiving widespread criticism for its initial statement in response to Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement that arose as a result, the NFL has pivoted its message.

In a video message shared last Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated the league was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” adding that the league condemns “racism and the systematic oppression of Black People.”

Miller of course joins a growing chorus of NFL players challenging the league to be an influential agent of change in the fight against racial injustice. It will be interesting to see how the league continues to respond to the call to action from Miller and other powerful voices within the NFL player community.