The tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday sent shockwaves through American society, with protests igniting and voices raised in every part of the country. Former BYU star quarterback Tanner Mangum has been vocal over social media, and late Thursday evening posted a poem he wrote on the subject to his Instagram story.
“How can I not speak up?” writes Mangum. “Why would I stand down? Silence is consent. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Excuses must turn to acknowledgment. I am a white man. I recognize my bias. I see my privilege.”
Mangum’s words echo a similar sentiment expressed by several notable white athletes and public figures in recent days. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz took to Twitter on Thursday to offer up his own thoughts on the subject of racism and white privilege.
“I’ve spent a large part of my life surrounded by people of similar color, so I’m never gonna act like I know what the black community goes through,” Wentz said. “I’ll never know the feeling of having to worry about my kids going outside because of their skin color. However, I do know that we are all equal at the foot of the cross and Jesus taught us to value others’ lives like they were our own — regardless of skin tone.”
Wentz mentioned the “institutional racism” that the black community has to endure on a daily basis, and Mangum also admitted to the “reality of racism” and the work that must be done to build “bridges of compassion” and tear down “walls of distrust.”
Mangum concluded his poem with a message to his friends in the black community and a commitment to honor their stories and experiences. The final lines read:
I see you, friends of color suffering endless persecution facing constant prejudice fighting against a rigged system systems stacked against you inherently stacks us against each other liberty and justice for some in the end is equality for none
Mangum finished his career with the Cougars in 2018 and now works in the communications department for the Jordan shoe brand.