INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On Monday, a “community dialogue” was held to discuss opportunity and equality after NFL players knelt in protest during the national anthem ahead of football games earlier this year.
The conversation, hosted by the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), the Indianapolis Colts and Amp Harris Productions, took place at Marian University in Indianapolis.
Several Colts players took part in the discussion by serving on a panel. Dozens of community members were in attendance, including some season ticket holders.
Veterans, members of law enforcement and others were all invited to be a part of the dialogue.
“It is very near and dear to my heart, the issues that we are talking about,” said Colts player Darius Butler. He was one of the players on the panel.
“Before I’m a Colt and after I’m a Colt, I’ll be a black man, and it is important to stand up and do what I think is right,” said Butler.
The conversation was closed to the media, but one woman in attendance said she thinks conversations like this help create understanding between those who agree with the protests and those who don’t.
“They hear one side, and they don’t hear both sides, and that’s why it is important to have one [a community dialogue],” said Tatiana Owens.
Players say that’s what they hope the forum accomplished.
“Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with anything regarding the protest, as long as you understand where we as players come from, where we as men come from and where we as Americans come from,” said Butler.