As a voice for social justice, the legacy of Patrick Mahomes grows


Patrick Mahomes already has several athletic accolades at the age of 25.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has the opportunity to win back-to-back Super Bowls — such a feat was last accomplished by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 2004 season — and aims to become the youngest starting quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls.

He’s the reigning Super Bowl MVP and the 2018 regular-season MVP. He’s 44-9 in his career as a starter, including in the postseason. Back in July, he signed a 10-year extension that boosted his potential contract value to as much as $503 million.

But what he’s done off the field has made a serious impact, too, in the way Mahomes has used his voice for social justice. Time magazine named Mahomes as one of “The 100 Most Influential People of 2020.”

“When you’re given a platform like I have been given, you want to try and use it and make the world a better place,” Mahomes said to reporters Tuesday ahead of Super Bowl LV. “I truly mean that when I say that. I have a good understanding of people from all different backgrounds, growing up in the locker rooms, growing up around all different types of people.

“I know I have a pretty good job of trying to bring people together, pretty good understanding. So I’m going to try to do that. As I continue to learn about different people and different things in life I’ll try to use my voice to continue to try bring people together and make the world a better place.”

On June 1, Mahomes took to social media after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died a week earlier after pleading for help as a White police officer knelt on his neck while pinning him to the ground.

“As a kid who was born with a black dad and white mom, I have been blessed to be accepted for who I am my entire life, but that isn’t the case for everyone,” Mahomes wrote. “The senseless murders that we have witnessed are wrong and cannot continue in our country.”

A few days later, Mahomes was part of a group of NFL players that called on the league to condemn racism, referencing the deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others.

“On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we the players would like to hear you state,” they said. “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systemic oppression of Black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter.”

Mahomes and his foundation split the cost with the Chiefs to pay for Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs play their home games, to be open on Election Day as a polling place. Chiefs president Mark Donovan told reporters at the time that it cost “six figures” to make it happen.

“I thought it was very important not only just to get as many people out to vote as possible but also to use a place as Arrowhead where we have a lot of fun, show a lot of love and unity where people (are) coming together, and use that as a place where we can come together and vote and use our voice,” Mahomes told NFL Media’s Jim Trotter and Steve Wyche on the NFL’s “Huddle and Flow” podcast around the election. “I thought Arrowhead was the perfect place for it, and the Chiefs were all on board with it.”

When speaking with reporters Tuesday, Mahomes was asked if there are any current athletes he models himself after in regards to his community work. He said that he’s been in touch with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

“There’s a lot of great, great athletes that are doing things the right way. LeBron is one of them,” Mahomes said. “He’s someone that I can talk to and get advice from, but there’s others. I mean, there’s a ton of people that are using their voice to make a difference in this world, and I try to take from them and then kind of use my own voice in my own way, to make an impact in my community.”

When asked whether Mahomes could reach a level like James in terms of influence and impact overall, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid replied, “Yeah, absolutely. I think he’s got a way about him where he understands people and they are interested in things he has to say, or back, and believe in. So, I think that presents yourself with a good combination to whatever platform that you want to support or take, that you have that ability.”

In July, after signing the massive contract extension, Mahomes was asked what the number $503 million meant to him and how to push forward off the field.

“Obviously, in the time that we are in right now, there’s so much opportunity to go out there and try to help the world become the best place that it can possibly be,” Mahomes said then. “I feel like having the security and this trust in the organization and obviously the financial help, I’ll be able to do that and not only in the Kansas City community where I hope to impact as much as I can as quickly as I can, but hopefully around the world.

“To have this trust in the organization to be behind me, not only on but off the field as well, I feel like I’ll be able to make a huge impact in this world in many ways and I’m just excited for the next step and to continue doing whatever I can to help achieve that.”