Kudos to Broncos’ Von Miller, who voted for first time, for continued political activism
Von Miller wears many hats: All-Pro linebacker, chicken farmer, DJ, fashionista. And with everything he’s done and said since this summer, you can add political activist to that list.
Miller, in speaking with Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) in an Instagram live chat this week, continued to embrace that role ahead of Election Day. The Broncos star was unafraid to admit that 2020 is the first time he’s voted, and he stressed the progression in his thinking that finally led him to fill out a ballot.
“We’ve seen (voting pushed) before, in previous years, but this election and this year has been pushed more than any other time,” Miller said. “I certainly got the message — I went out and voted early, and I’ve been pushing all my friends and all my teammates to do the same.”
What’s the best thing besides football that Miller could be doing right now, as he rehabs an ankle injury that’s kept him out all season? Using his platform as an NFL superstar to remind people that, regardless of the current divisiveness in our country, they have a chance to make their voice heard. Miller’s been doing that publicly since June, when he participated in, and spoke at, a team march in downtown Denver following the death of George Floyd, who was in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Now, Miller understands his and other professional athletes’ growing role in ensuring voter participation. The linebacker said the Broncos’ intensive player-only meetings following the Aug. 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc. — an event that prompted Denver and other teams across the league to cancel practice later that week — “was the wave that pushed me over the top to go out there and exercise my voice.”
“The time is now,” Miller said. “We’ve been fighting the same (social justice) fight that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammed Ali, all these other athletes fought. We just got to keep it going. (Professional athletes) can’t get tired with the process; we’ve got to keep pushing, keep using our platform, keep speaking on what’s right, and we have to all do it together.”
Miller’s wide-ranging chat with Booker touched on marijuana legalization, police brutality and the coronavirus pandemic, among other non-football topics. It was a refreshing and real conversation in which the 31-year-old also described the excitement of voting.
“I took a picture of me holding my ballot, took a picture of me dropping it off,” Miller said.
While the linebacker remains optimistic (some might say exceedingly so) about his return to the field in 2020 following ankle surgery — “hopefully in about three weeks to a month, I should be ready to go” — he’s doing all the right things off the field. Tweeting in support of his teammates. Not sticking to sports.
Hopefully, this year is just the beginning of Von Miller, political activist. His voice is too potent and too loud, to not make a difference.