Jets' QB Sam Darnold Quotes 8.29.20
COURTESY OF NEW YORK JETS COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
Opening Statement… Just talking about the last few days, not practicing, it was a great opportunity for us as teammates to talk about the events that have been going on in this country. It was great for everyone to voice how they feel. It’s not an easy situation and it was a great opportunity for guys, like I said, to just say how they feel and then organizationally for us to ask how can we help? Whether it’s registering to vote, just getting with different guys from our organization to help with certain things that we don’t necessarily as football players understand, when it comes to policy and different things like that, how we can help enact change or affect change, and I think it was very important for us as players to let our organization understand how we feel, and they were right there with us and they were understanding and they are going to do everything that they can to help us. For us as players, we feel really good about where our organization is willing to go. I think for us to have those conversations, it was, for me especially growing up in Orange County – South Orange County in Southern California, a predominantly white neighborhood – it was important for me to hear stories from my teammates about how they grew up and it was really good to hear those stories. And for me, being able to go to USC and have great relationships with all my teammates at USC, and then even being in South Central L.A., which most would consider not a great neighborhood, it was an opportunity for me to share that experience with people from my hometown, and it was very eye opening for me. And again, a lot of people don’t grow up, in certain neighborhoods, and I think for all of us this is a great opportunity to educate ourselves and understand where people are coming from. It was a great opportunity these last couple of days for me to sit back, listen, educate myself and understand where my teammates are coming from on these issues, and I’m right there with them and I feel their pain and I’m going to do everything that I can, we as the Jets organization are going to do everything that we can to help out.
Charles McDonald, New York Daily News: Sam, was there anything that you learned specifically that you didn’t know before after these past couple days that you’ve spent speaking with your teammates? For me like I said, growing up in Orange County, my parents, it was important for them to tell me, “Hey, make sure you’re back home before dark,” and that was an emphasis for me growing up as a little kid, but even talking to my teammates about how they were told, “Hey, make sure you’re home before dark or else something bad can happen.” That is a different conversation than what my parents had with me. It was, “Hey, make sure you’re home before dark, because you don’t want to get lost,” that was basically it. It wasn’t, “Hey, you can possibly get hurt or something bad can happen to you,” it was, “Hey just make sure you’re home before dark because that’s the rule.” I took the time to understand it is different growing up black in America, and I now understand that better. I feel like even going to USC and listening to my teammates tell stories even then, I had a better understanding, but now I’m just continuing to educate myself, and these conversations, as uncomfortable as sometimes they are, they’re really good. They’re really good conversations and they’re conversations that have to be had.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Sam it sounds like, just listening to you here on the zoom call, it sounds like you were affected by what happened on Thursday. As it was unfolding, can you describe the emotions you were feeling because it sounds like it definitely reached you? Yeah, guys that I know have the same values, the same morals as me on the team, to hear them, and guys that I love on the team, to hear them talk about how they grew up and just how much more challenging, just how many more obstacles they had to go through growing up. That’s something that shouldn’t be a thing, that shouldn’t be happening in this country. There are ways that we can fix that, and that’s what a lot of guys in the team meeting where we’re trying to explain, is there are ways that we can fix that, but it’s going to be a process. And we have to understand that there are steps that we can take to make that happen, but we have to be all in. We have to continue playing because quite frankly this is the reason we have a platform, is because we play football and we are in the NFL. And that was a huge point to all the guys was, we have to continue playing, we have to continue to push our message across and get our points across to everyone because if we stop playing then that platform can be taken away from us.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Sam, you mentioned registering to vote, I’m just curious how much that was part of the conversation, both registering and then the election coming up in November? Yeah, that was very much part of the conversation. Registering to vote, voting as Americans, it’s our right, I feel like it’s our duty to be able to do that. Even myself, like I’m very uneducated on voting and what it takes because I’m spending most of my days looking at a playbook, making sure that I’m prepared to play football. I’m not really in tune with politics to be honest with you guys and a lot of my teammates feel the same way. And so I think just being able to take a step back, making sure, and there are ways to do it, our organization is helping us do that, is making sure every guy on the offense, defense is registered to vote, and that not only are we registered to vote, but we’re also educated on who we can vote for and who the candidates are not just nationally, but locally as well in New Jersey, or wherever anyone is registered to vote.
Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press: Sam, in a regular training camp you have 90 guys, got all kinds of backgrounds but the focus is on football. Every one of you has a background like you talked about, you know how you grew up. Do you think just being able to listen to all of these guys now that it really hit home harder than it possibly ever has for all of you guys as a whole? I think for a lot of guys, just hearing stories it had already hit home because they’ve been feeling that way for a long time. For guys like myself, who haven’t necessarily heard all the stories or seen necessarily those things in person, it was very moving for me. And because, you know, like I said, I just, I have no experience with that and I’ve heard stories every now and then and again you see videos that keep popping up, but for me I just, to continue to educate myself and talk to my teammates, and the stories that I’ve heard, it’s very eye opening, and it makes me understand that we have a long way to go in this country, to where we want to be. And that’s it, and whatever we can do to affect change, whether it’s registering to vote, or changing certain laws, however we can do it because again that’s not our job as football players, it’s not to worry about those things, we have the backing of our organization, the backing of the NFLPA to help us deal with those issues and we’re going to use those. By the way, practice was great guys, practice was good.