“I think it just shows leadership for them to take that big step, because it’s bigger than sports right now,” Green said. “And I think a lot of people are understanding that. I think what’s going on with the pandemic and all these killings and things going on this world today, right now people are tired of that. And I think our focus is on how to make a change. I think that’s the biggest priority right now -- not just sports, it’s trying to make a change in this world.”
Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate was active in his home community during protests following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody earlier this summer. He also is glad to see professional sports teams getting involved in the social justice movement.
“That situation (with Floyd) was real… I wouldn’t necessarily say eye opening because being Black in this country, you kinda already know it and see it, but seeing it start to hit everybody at the same time,” Tate said. “It’s just good to see that it’s starting to affect people and it seems like we’re starting to get a little change. As you can see a few days ago we still have a long way to go. It’s just a work in progress.”
The NFL and other sports leagues have a unique platform to help inspire change, players have said.
Green believes “it starts with the top,” having uncomfortable conversations with owners, general managers and other decision makers within sports teams. On Monday, Carlos Dunlap spoke about wanting to meet with owner Mike Brown personally.
Asked if the Bengals’ front office is receptive to discussions with players, Green said he believes they were involved in some calls during the offseason that he wasn’t a part of, but he knows “they are listening.”
“I think a lot of players are scared to talk because a lot of people aren’t financially stable to where they can make comments on how they feel about things and not feel like they will get cut or something like that,” Green said. “I think it starts from the top and that will create an environment where these guys are comfortable voicing their opinion and not feel like, ‘This could cost me my job because I have a family to feed.’”
On the field, it’s an important time for Green. He missed all of the 2019 season because of ankle surgery and already suffered a bit of a setback in training camp as he prepares for his first game since December 2, 2018. Green started experiencing some tightness in his hamstring Aug. 17 and was pulled from practices until Wednesday when he returned to individual drills.
Coach Zac Taylor had called it a “precautionary” measure to hold Green out, and Green said if it was the regular season, he would have stayed in the game, but it was better for him to take care of his body to make sure it doesn’t become a nagging problem. Green said he needs as many reps as he can get in order to feel comfortable by the opener.
“It feels good,” Green said after taking a full week off. “It’s getting back to 100 percent. For me, I’ve just got to be smart. I’ve got to get my legs back under me. I haven’t played football in a while. For me, it’s just working my way back up to the full speed that I was before I got hurt. It’s a little frustrating, but at this point it could be worse. I’ll just go about my business, keep working, and I’ll be ready. The biggest thing is getting ready for the first game, and that’s what my eyes are on right now.”