BUFFALO, N.Y. (WROC) — Bills quarterback Josh Allen says that while he can’t understand what it’s like being a black person in America, he’s listening, and doing whatever he can to help.
“I’ve been having conversations with teammates and trying to listen and trying to learn. There’s been a lot of hurt. I think guys have been very emotional about it, at least the guys that I’ve talked to. Just the emotional hurt that they’ve had,” says Allen.
“I do stand with the black community, especially my teammates here and I’ve got a lot of love for our guys,” Allen adds.
He says that he has gained from his perspective talking to people from his hometown of Firebaugh, CA. The community is predominately Hispanic. According to the 2010 census, 92.4% of the population is Hispanic or Latino, with 7.5% being white alone.
Allen said that, growing up, he did not have many white friends, and he has been talking to people from his hometown to check in and see what they’re thinking about everything.
“A lot of pain, a lot of hurt that’s been going on and I think it stems down even from their parents and their parents not being very happy with the direction of this country, how it’s been in the past,” says Allen.
Earlier this month, racist text messages sent by Bills rookie quarterback Jake Fromm were made public. It’s a situation similar to one that Allen faced before his draft night, when previously deleted racist tweets that Allen sent in high school resurfaced.
Allen hasn’t spoken too much to Fromm about the situation, but did text Fromm that he’s there for him if he needs him and that he loves him.
“He owned up to his mistakes and he talked to the team and if anybody had any questions about him they went and they asked him, they asked him directly,” says Allen. “He was extremely sorry and regretful and super hurt by it and he didn’t mean to cause anybody any pain and I think the guys responded very well to him.”
Allen echoed comments that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll made last week, that Fromm’s actions will speak louder than his words.
“When I got drafted, my mindset was to get into the locker room and show them who I really was as a person. I can say without a doubt, guys know who I am now,” says Allen. “I definitely think it’s going to take time but at the same time, we learn and we grow as we get older.”
The third-year quarterback says that he’s learned a lot from meeting different people throughout his football career, which is one of the things he enjoys the most about the NFL.
“You’ve got guys from different types of backgrounds and places and races and ethnicities and different upbringings, different backgrounds, it’s all kind of a melting pot and that’s kind of what I love about this league. You experience so much, you learn so much from different people,” says Allen. “You feel like you kind of grew up with these guys because every locker room is kind of the same, from high school, from college, to the NFL. It’s just a bunch of guys from different places that are trying to pull together to do one thing. I think that the world can learn a lot from studying the in’s and out’s of a football locker room.”
“I’m still learning, I’m a young kid and I want to grow and I want to learn from everybody in our locker room and hear their stories and understand what I can do to help,” adds the Bills QB.
He has been watching what has been going in his adopted home of Buffalo and says that it’s been very sad to see what has been going on.
“Buffalo’s the city of good neighbors. That’s what we’re known for. We’ve got to continue to keep loving on each other and showing each other our best selves that we can and to continue to push that way and make changes for the right,” says Allen. “I’m standing with our mayor. As a black American, I think he’s trying to go about it the right way and trying to unify the city.”
Through it all, he hopes that some good will come out of all of the conversations that he and everyone else are having.
“I think this country is going to come out of this as a better country and we’re going to continue to learn and grow,” says Allen. “As far as racial injustice, there’s no room for racism. At the end of the day, everybody kind of has their own opinion, but as people, we have our opinion and our rights to let them know that they’re wrong.”