EAGLES PEDERSON: BLACK AND WHITE, BUE WE BLEED MIDNIGHT GREEN!

By Michael Bennett

Doug Pederson says he told the Eagles he doesn’t understand some of their experiences and what they have experienced growing up because he grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood

Pederson says he’s understanding more and more as he talks to his players:

“My upbringing, I didn’t have many Black families in my community, in my high school. I grew up primarily in a white community, and it wasn’t until I really went to college that I was around Black athletes and their families, and I told my teams, I don’t understand where a lot of these players — just where they grew up and some of the life struggles that they’ve gone through at early ages, most of these players.

“So for me, and like I told the guys the other day, it’s like, some of my dearest friends obviously were my teammates and my Black teammates and still stay in touch with those guys today, whether it was college or my playing days in the NFL, and just getting to know them and understand them and kind of hear a little bit about their stories and where they come from and their upbringing and the cities they grew up in.

“So for me it’s about that. It’s about learning that culture and that lifestyle which was different for me. And now being in this role as the head football coach, and quite frankly I think the role has changed, because now I’m — I am the head coach and dealing with football but also we’re dealing with life issues and life struggles that a lot of our players go through on a daily basis. So it’s more than football. So for me it’s about listening to them and trying to understand them more and to have a clearer picture as to what they go through when they leave this building.

“Rodney McLeod said it best when he said last week that he can pull that Eagles jersey off or that helmet off and he’s a Black man in our society, in our community, and things are different. These are things I’m understanding more and more from our teammates and from our players.

“Getting to the second part of your question, I do think the league is different now than when I played. Players obviously have a bigger impact today. I think their platforms are bigger today. They need to use that in a positive way today and try to promote and create healthy change in our communities, in our society, and hopefully in our country and our world. And so I think from that — because social media is so great, and a lot of these guys use social media in such a positive way, as I said, to help facilitate change.

“For me it’s about supporting them and being there for them and learning everything I can.”

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