Matt Ryan Pledges $500K to Atlanta’s Black Community Amid Protests

Jesse Pantuosco
June 05, 2020 - 11:46 am

Matt Ryan has been one of the most vocal athletes in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, delivering a heartfelt response to George Floyd’s senseless death at the hands of Minneapolis police on Instagram last week. Tensions have quickly escalated in recent days with protests popping up in major cities such as New York, Louisville (where Breona Taylor was killed in a similar incident months earlier), Philadelphia and Atlanta, where Ryan has spent the entirety of his 12-year NFL career.

Wanting to make a tangible difference rather than simply talking about it, the longtime Falcons quarterback has pledged $500,000 to a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising $2 million (the No. 2 signifies Ryan’s number) for Atlanta’s black community. “I see my city hurting,” wrote Ryan on Instagram Friday morning. “Let’s rise up as a community. It’s time.”

According to census data, Atlanta’s population is over 50 percent black. Atlanta’s protests in support of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter have been among the country’s most intense with over 400 arrests made and damage to several prominent city landmarks including the College Football Hall of Fame. This strife led to an impassioned speech by Run the Jewels rapper and Atlanta native Killer Mike, who decried our country’s continued struggles in combatting police brutality and institutionalized racism.

With all that’s gone on in the past two weeks, Ryan knew it was time for him to speak up. “For far too long I have reacted to social injustice with empathy and silent support but failed to follow through with active support. I feel the time has come to RESPOND,” the 35-year-old explained on Instagram. “Over the next few weeks/months I’ll be really listening to the needs of the community and working with black business leaders, sports figures, activists and local grassroots organizations to get guidance on how these donations can be most impactful.”

A number of high-profile athletes and sports media figures have butchered their responses to the ongoing chaos, but not Ryan, who clearly sees this as a turning point and hopes his influence can bring about change, both in his city and across our struggling nation.

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