As protests take place across the world in the wake of the murders of black men and women, like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Devin and Jason McCourty again used their platform to hold honest discussions about racism and creating change.
On their weekly "Double Coverage" podcast, the McCourtys took a break from talking football to discuss what is currently happening and what has been happening for hundreds of years in the U.S.
"Sports is obviously something that plays a huge role in our lives, but right now sports doesn't seem like something that's very important," Jason said. "There's a lot of things going on in our country. Obviously, from the pandemic to everything that's going on with racial issues that have plagued our country for hundreds of hundreds of years. We wanted to just open up our platform to be able to discuss some of these things."
With outrage across the country sparked by Floyd's murder and the ensuing arrests of just one of the four Minneapolis police officers involved, many athletes have used their platforms to speak up about the injustice. Devin and Jason have been consistent in their advocacy when it comes to issues of social justice. From criminal justice reform to education legislation in Massachusetts, the twins advocate for issues that predominantly and adversely impact black and low-income communities, as well as those who speak English as a second language.
Because of this work, the McCourtys were recently nominated for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, but they are not naïve to the fact that change takes time.
"I just think it's a long-play strategy to try to get those things changed in the system, but we definitely have to attack legislation. Devin and myself, along with Duron [Harmon] and Matthew Slater fought to get an education bill passed last year here in Massachusetts and that's part of it," Jason said. "When you can attack legislation and get laws and the system changed, that's going to bring a real impact, but we can't expect that to happen overnight. It's been hundreds of years in the process of being made the way it is."
Recent events seem to be changing the conversations. Devin alluded to Colin Kaepernick's peaceful protest, taking a knee before NFL games to bring light to police brutality and the reality of what it is to be black in America.
"All of a sudden people are like, 'Oh man, let me actually take an extra second to listen to what Kaepernick said in an interview about why he took a knee and why he did a silent protest,'" Devin said. "When you listen to it, people are like, 'Oh, that's kind of how I feel right now after watching that video [of Floyd's murder]. It's like yeah, I know because if you ever stopped to listen to what he was doing and his true message, it never would have got to that point and you never would have talked about the military. You never would have talked about the flag. You would have understood he was talking about freedom."
In addition to their typical fan questions, Devin and Jason also invited their former Rutgers teammates Chris Quaye, Antonio Lowery, and Pat Brown on to the podcast to discuss their roles as black men and mentors who work as a private banker, police officer, and high school football coach, respectively. The open discussions covered their relationship with the police growing up and how, particularly for Lowery, they can "change the narrative."
Throughout the podcast, listeners submitted questions, and while Devin and Jason made it clear they do not have all of the answers, when asked how people can be a part of the solution in their everyday lives, Devin was succinct.
"Exercising your right to vote. Researching, knowing what it is that you want to see in your community and then listening," Devin said. "Listening to other people in other communities, neighboring communities, communities maybe you wouldn't even want to go to or think to go to. Go see their plight. Go see their life, their struggles and try to be a voice for them as well so they're not the only ones talking."
You can listen to the entire conversation below.