The complete progressive take-over of professional sports has occurred before our eyes with startling speed during the current pandemic. Patrick Mahomes, quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs and Super Bowl MVP, is not only the face of the NFL now, but he's also diving headlong into superstardom as a leading social justice warrior in the league.
GQ staff writer Clay Skipper interviewed Mahomes and details the 24-year-old superstar's ambitious social justice goals.
This was supposed to be a straightforward year for Mahomes: sign a blockbuster new contract (he got 10 years for an astronomical $503 million), then help the Chiefs repeat a Super Bowl championship.
"But when a pandemic gave way to a protest movement that implicated the NFL, the game’s brightest star began to find his voice—and prove that he’s as adroit off the field as he is on it," Skipper wrote.
Mahomes found his voice and then some. He told NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell the league needs to hire a social justice coordinator. He's linking arms with the face of the NBA, LeBron James, in an effort to get out the anti-Trump vote in November and subdue that old Democrat fantasy -- voter suppression.
Also, Mahomes joined more than a dozen other black NFL players to appear in a video calling on their employers to condemn racism:
On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state. We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.
Less than a day later Goodell recorded a video affirming the players' requests. The NFL announced a $20 million donation to charities fighting systemic racism, and tweeted: "we know that we can and need to do more."
So much for Super Bowl MVPs going to Disney Land being a big deal. Mahomes has literally gone to "Social Justice Land." "I needed to use my platform to help," he told Skipper, who continued:
Goodell was curious about the young quarterback's perspective and about what he wanted to see and do going forward. Mahomes explained that he wants to draw attention to voter-registration efforts: "Helping young adults, but especially the Black community, get registered to vote. It's the first step." (Days later, Mahomes would announce that he'd be lending his support to LeBron James's More Than a Vote organization, to boost voter-registration efforts and battle voter suppression.)
Mahomes is no rookie social justice warrior. He also talked with the commissioner about NFL teams hiring individuals who would help players "become more useful activists in their communities."
“I remember talking about having maybe a social-justice officer that can point people in the right direction,” Mahomes recalls. “So whenever you wanna help out the community, you have someone that works with the team that can help. He was encouraged. It was a great conversation.”
Skipper said that in a summer of tumult and change, as seasoned NFL veterans like Saints quarterback Drew Brees are "fumbling along" and dropping the Black Lives Matter ball, Mahomes might "be the fulcrum on which the balance of power could pivot, particularly at this moment."
Mahomes has that "type of juice," Skipper said. "He's reading the moment, gathering information, hunting for opportunity, his eyes up and his gaze downfield."