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Call to action: Chiefs ready to make a difference

Micaela Dea
St. Joseph News-Press
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, left, safety Tyrann Mathieu celebrate the Super Bowl victory in February. Mahomes and Mathieu said they are working with other players and team officials to start a voter registration campaign.

After the Kansas City Chiefs finished their Zoom conference call with reporters on Wednesday, one thing's clear: the club's on a mission to effect change.

Following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breona Taylor, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and safety Tyrann Mathieu wanted to make their voices heard.

So, they took part in a player-organized Black Lives Matter video that went viral last week.

The two garnered support from team owner Clark Hunt, president Mark Donovan as well as head coach Andy Reid.

Mahomes said he loved how his team came together, and he wants to use his platform to "make this world a better place."

"It was a cumulation of seeing all this happen and wanting it to stop and wanting us to find a better way of preventing these instances that happen," Mahomes said.

The NFL saw the players' video, and responded with one of their own featuring Commissioner Roger Goodell saying the league had previously been wrong for not listening closely enough.

Andy Reid called Goodell a "stud" for making such a move.

"That's a hard thing to do to say 'I was wrong,'" Reid said. "It makes the NFL better. It's going to make our country better."

Mathieu also made it clear that he decided to speak up because the first time around with Colin Kaepernick, a lot of the league didn't do so.

"Our social responsibility, I think it goes far beyond the football field," Mathieu said. "I think we have a true impact in our communities."

"It's not about who kneels and who doesn't kneel," Mahomes added. "It's about having the right to peacefully protest and to recognize that social injustices are happening and that racial inequality does happen every single day."

Mathieu mentioned the Chiefs' family atmosphere, saying it's important for everyone in the club to push each other forward.

And in Reid's eyes, he's more than happy to do so.

Reid said, "We're sitting here with this push on Black Lives Matter, and absolutely they matter, man. I think it's a beautiful thing. I'm in complete support of them."

Mahomes and Mathieu's next step involves working on putting together a voter registration program, with a meeting set for sometime next week with team leaders.

Mahomes said the idea of voter registration came from talks with teammates and team officials.

“Obviously with voting coming up for local offices and everything like that, we wanted to make sure that was in the front of our minds,” Mahomes said. “We’ve talked about several things, nothing that is completely in stone, but voter registration was one big one that we really want to move forward with. … We’re going to try to find the best way to give money or support or whatever it is to get as many people registered to vote so they can go and try to effect change in every way they feel possible.”

Mathieu said voter registration was an idea that was receiving too little attention.

“I think we can sit here all day and talk about a lot of different things and most of those topics are very sensitive – they’re very tough conversations – and I think voter registration isn’t one of those conversations,” Mathieu said. “I think it impacts everybody. I think everybody can be a part of that. Like I mentioned, if guys like myself and more guys like me can make voting ‘cool’ – if we can make that a trendy thing – we’re really changing the future. … We’re really allowing these kids access to more opportunities. ... And I think the way to do that is to put people in office that are going to do that. Probably the most important thing is to vote.”