ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — Bills defensive end Mario Addison was asked about what message the team wanted to get out in a potential pregame demonstration or show of support for social justice.
He started his answer by saying “if” we do something, then clarified that “when” they do something they want the message to be that every person should be treated equally.
“No matter what the color of your skin is. If we can get that message through to everybody, the world will be a better place,” says Addison.
Bills left tackle and team captain Dion Dawkins says the team is still discussing what they will do pregame.
What he hopes is that whatever they try to do, the message is that they’re united as one.
“If people just understand that we’re better together than apart than that’s really all that needs to be said,” says Dawkins. “If the Buffalo Bills and the facility and the Pegulas can treat everybody in the building the same way, then the world should just see that and try to attempt to love on one another and not be afraid to open up and be vulnerable. Most men want to be macho guys and all tough, but when you show your true colors there’s so much room for growth. I honestly think that if everyone stays together and we’re unified then this will be a beautiful place.”
The team has already committed to taking action, donating a percentage of their week one game checks for children to have access to internet as more and more schools switch to virtual learning.
“There are 4,500 kids that do not have internet and close to 500 teachers don’t have internet,” says Dawkins on the city of Buffalo.
“We’re huge on getting this census done,” Dawkins adds. “I think we’re about 55% complete and we need to get as close to 100% to make a drastic and dramatic change in Buffalo, money-wise.”
Players are allowed to wear decals with social justice messages or the names of victims of systemic racism or police brutality.
Addison says that he did not see last night’s show of unity as the Texans and Chiefs locked arms at midfield before the season opener. He did hear about it and said that it was a great thing. Head coach Sean McDermott echoed his sentiment.
“It’s bigger than football sometimes,” says Addison. “I’m glad those two teams agreed upon that before the game, showing that we’re all in this together.”
Dawkins admits that the team is in a difficult position, trying to speak their minds and impact change while at the same time focusing on football.
“You want to let your presence be felt but you also don’t want to make a big distraction. Not to say that every distraction is a bad one, but sometimes, everybody hasn’t been in a position to have that much attention for the negative and positive stuff and it can change you,” says Dawkins. “It can drastically change a person, mentally. I think that it’s definitely difficult but everybody is their own person and hopefully they choose their battles wisely.”
The Bills will be ready to walk that line on Sunday when they kick-off their season at home against the New York Jets.