Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons was among those participating in protests around the country following the death of George Floyd and offered thoughts on the movement to Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic.
"We're not saying other lives don't matter. We're saying all lives can't matter until black lives matter," Simmons said.
Simmons spoke to protesters in Stuart, Florida, which could be seen in a video that was posted to social media by his mother:
"I understand the pain and the grief, but this has not just been an act of George Floyd," Simmons said. "It's been an act of 300 and more years that we have been oppressed from the system. It will not change with violence. So today, we are not going to have any violence out here. We will not. We will be the difference."
Protests have erupted nationwide over the past week after an unarmed African American man, Floyd, died while in the custody of Minneapolis police. One of the officers who arrested Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Some protests have turned violent with riots, leading to curfews in over 40 United States cities.
Simmons specifically called for a non-violent event in Martin County.
The 26-year-old is entering his fifth season in the NFL, starting every game for the Broncos over the past two years while totaling 190 tackles and seven interceptions in that span. His team used the franchise tag on him this offseason, allowing him to earn $11.4 million in 2020, per Spotrac.
Simmons was also the Broncos' 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee thanks to his numerous charitable initiatives.
"I feel like I have an obligation to use my platform to effect change positively," Simmons said.