BALTIMORE, Md. — At this moment Matthew Judon’s mission isn’t about making tackles. It isn’t about chasing after a quarterback. It’s bringing about racial equality.
"Right now it’s bigger than football," said the Ravens outside linebacker during a virtual press conference on Monday. "It’s an issue that needs to be addressed and it has nothing to do with wins or losses."
Judon said he has recently been out "doing work".
"Until we are all treated the same and given the same respect and decency as humans, I think stuff needs to be changed. So, I’m with all the protests that we have to do and all the progress that we have to make. I’m with all that."
Judon criticized the timing of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's recent public support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
"It’s something that people shouldn’t have to say: Black lives should always matter. I don’t think it’s something that when one person says it, like, 'Oh, now it makes sense.' It’s something that has made sense. My life [has] mattered since Aug. 15, 1992. I feel like everybody else, as a black person, they knew their lives mattered when they were put on this earth. So, it’s not when Roger Goodell came out and said, 'Black Lives Matter,' now everybody can say it. I think we should’ve been questioning why Roger Goodell didn’t say, 'Black Lives Matter,' when he was born, or when he became commissioner, or when he was re-elected commissioner. Racism is not a cool thing. It’s not a trend, like, 'OK, now let’s all get behind [it].’"
Judon added the Ravens have talked about whether they will take a knee during the national anthem when games resume but the team hasn't come to a resolution on what they will do collectively.
"We are having very deep conversations about this because that’s real life," he said. "We want to put an end to racism whether that be on the football field or in classrooms or wherever it may be."
On the football field Judon is fresh off signing his one-year franchise tag. He’ll reportedly make between linebacker and defensive end money, about $16.8 $17 million in 2020. He said he is "pleased" to be tagged.
"I’m happy to be a Raven. I want to stay here for as long as I play. But, I understand that it’s a business," he said.
The 27-year-old is coming off a career-high and team-high 9.5 sacks in 2019. That earned him his first trip to the Pro Bowl. He has until the NFL deadline of July 15 to work out a long-term deal with the Ravens.