KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Patrick Mahomes and Tyrann Mathieu knew they had a platform to speak out about social injustice given their visibility and stature with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The question was what to do with it.
The young quarterback and star safety, both of whom have been active the past couple of years in the Kansas City community, wanted to do more than just talk. They wanted their words to lead into action. And that's why they have joined with the Chiefs in the beginnings of a voter registration drive ahead of the November elections.
“If we're able to impact voter registration and give those people a voice and let those people go into their communities and select heir leaders, that's going to be very important going forward,” Mathieu said. “If you want to change anything, you're going to have to educate people on what it is they have to do to change things. A lot of times it's more than just protesting. They really have to find a call to action. I think voter registration can impact a lot of people.”
There were about 245 million registered voters for the last presidential election in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but that represents only about 64.2% of those eligible to vote. The numbers were even more bleak among young people with just over half — 50.8% in the 18-24 demographic — registering and 43% turning out at the polls.
That happens to be the demographic of Mahomes, who won't turn 25 until September.
The Chiefs plan to announce the details of the voter registration drive at a later date, but coach Andy Reid said it has the support of owner Clark Hunt and everyone in the front office. In fact, Hunt has spoken to a number of players since the death of George Floyd at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer sparked protests nationwide, and his willingness to do whatever it takes to help affect change resonated within the diverse NFL locker room.
“Listen, Clark was unbelievable. He was so proud of those guys,” Reid said, “and he called them and talked to them and that's how Clark does it. He's unbelievable with guys that way, and he's all-in and our guys know it. That's why you don't hear a lot of chatter. They know they have an open ear to talk.”