Former Nevada Wolf Pack star receiver Nate Burleson addressed the death of George Floyd and ensuing peaceful protests and riots that have ensued in Tuesday's edition of Good Morning Football, which runs daily on the NFL Network. Burleson, a co-host of Good Morning Football who played for Nevada from 2000-02 before an 11-year NFL career, said America needs to love black people as they love black culture.
"It's tough to talk about football with so many things going on in our country," Burleson said. "I wore a shirt today that says, 'Love black people like you love black culture.' The reason I wore that is because I've been in that position where we're revered and admired for our athleticism, our music, the way we dance, the way we act, walk, talk. There's so much value in those things. But sometimes there's these horrific, horrific things that happen to our culture to our people to individuals that look like me in completely avoidable situations, and the life isn't valued.
"I couldn't care less if you value me as a football player, if you value me as a talent. It doesn't matter if you love the way Beyoncé (Knowles) sings or the way LeBron (James) plays basketball or how great (Michael) Jordan was in the '90s. It doesn't matter how great our music is. If you don't value our life, I don't really care. When it comes to everything that's going on, it's heartbreaking to see so much chaos, but within that chaos when you peal back the layers, there's pain. I understand that pain.
"I know what it feels like to watch the news and say 'yet again,' kiss my kids on the forehead, teach them the new rules of interacting with authority and then want to do something with that rage. But there is a difference between those who are peacefully protesting with a purpose and those out there inciting violence and damage. There's a separation of the two, and let's make that distinction, just like I can clearly say I know more good cops than bad cops. I can separate the two."
Burleson continued on to give advice for what white people can do to help change mindsets and make substantive change.
"Just have some empathy and some understanding and recognize that it's wrong, recognize that there is something that needs to be fixed," Burleson said. "It's OK. In every other walk of life, whether it's your job, whether it's playing sports or it's with family, there are things you want to fix to improve. We're a family, right? The human race is a family. This country is a family. Let's figure out what we can do to fix these things."
You can watch the full clip below.