DENVER (CBS4)– Former Denver Broncos player Reggie Rivers is proud of Black athletes taking a stand against racial injustice. The Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rockies and Colorado Avalanche joined other teams across the nation to take time away from the field or arenas to join the movement this week.
“What these players are doing is a modern civil rights movement,” Rivers told CBS4’s Andrea Flores. “It takes a lot of courage for these players to do what they’re doing. They have a lot to lose and very little to gain personally.”
To understand what the Black Lives Matter movement symbolizes, Rivers says you have to understand the power Black athletes have on and off the field.
“In Black America, the athletes are among the most accomplished Black people in our community. They’re not necessarily the lawyers and the doctors, but they drive more revenue for companies, they have a lot of social power through social media, they have a lot of economic power through the organizations that they represent, and they have a lot of power in the leagues in which they play,” Rivers said.
He believes leagues and fans are finally seeing the police brutality Black athletes have experienced all along.
“We’ve always known that police officers are more aggressive with us, but no one else ever knew that, no one else ever saw it, it wasn’t their experience,” said Rivers. “Because it’s so prevalent right now, I think it gives an opportunity for these players to speak up in a way that maybe players in past generations couldn’t really speak up.”
That’s why Rivers knows the risk these athletes are making is one worth taking.
“It’s one thing for LeBron James to do it, it’s another thing for the guy who’s the six man off the bench, or the last man on the roster. It’s a different thing for those guys, but they’re also doing it, and I’m impressed by their courage and their commitment to this important issue,” Rivers said.