CLEVELAND -- Rather than spending their off day studying film or enjoying time away from the football field, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins and quarterback Josh McCown spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Hawkins and McCown were two of five players in the National Football League who travelled to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress regarding community relations with law-enforcement officials in the wake of several police-involved shootings across the country in the last 18 months.
“It says that our guys are well thought of that way,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “I am very proud of that. That is a huge accomplishment. That doesn’t just happen. There are a whole bunch of players that were not there. I think that someone thinks very highly of their influence in the National Football League.”
Hawkins and McCown were two of the four players handpicked by Detroit Lions wide receiver Anquan Boldin to meet with Congress to open lines of communication and address what is going on with police-involved shootings in several cities, including Cleveland, Minneapolis and Baton Rouge among others.
According to Hawkins, rather than getting “caught up in thinking either this side or that side is right or wrong,” the best way to keep things moving in the right direction is by keeping lines of communication open between concerned citizens and law-enforcement officials.
“It is huge,” Jackson said. “You are talking about two young men on our team that I have a lot of respect for, who have a voice in that locker room and that when they come back, there are messages that they can bring back. I think that they both really enjoyed their experience.
“They had asked me about this well in advance of the other day and I was totally for it because what a tremendous opportunity for them to have a voice in some serious issues that are going on and for them to learn different ways that we are trying to do things better. They will carry that message into our locker room with our younger players. They are two guys that I think our guys look up to.”
Jackson was particularly proud of McCown and Hawkins because they are taking an active role in the community and using their platform as NFL players to exact positive change in today’s society.
“That is part of giving back,” Jackson said. “It is part of being somebody that is recognized in the league. More so than that, just giving back to what this league has given them, a tremendous opportunity.”