"Sometimes it's not about money. It's not about fame," he says

By Lindsay Kimble
July 14, 2020 12:36 PM
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Patrick Mahomes
Pari Dukovic

Patrick Mahomes says he understands his platform — and that using it is so much more important than any paycheck.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback — who just agreed to a $450 million contract extension that could eventually net Mahomes up to $503 million over 10 years — is opening up about deciding to participate in a powerful video released in early June featuring several NFL players pushing for equality in the league.

"I understand that my part in the video is a big part of it,” Mahomes, 24, tells GQ in a new interview and admits that he knew speaking up could negatively impact his contract, which was then just in the works.

He adds, "I'm in the middle of negotiating my next contract, to hopefully be a Kansas City Chief for a long time, but I still thought this was important enough and this was something that had to be said. It wasn't something I could sit back on and worry about my next contract, because I needed to use my platform to help. Sometimes it's not about money. It's not about fame. It's about doing what's right."

In the aforementioned video, a dozen athletes — including Mahomes, Odell Beckham Jr.Deshaun WatsonEzekiel Elliott, and Saquon Barkley — recorded a message urging the professional sports league to address racism and to "admit wrong in silencing [its] players from peacefully protesting."

The athletes said they "will not be silenced" and referred back to 2016 when Colin Kaepernick kicked off the #TakeAKnee movement by refusing to stand during the national anthem in protest against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.

Mahomes — who led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers in February — tells GQ that he's been having conversations with other players, family members, and NFL officials in the time since the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Among those people was league commissioner Roger Goodell, who, he says, wants "to do the right thing."

“They, as much as us, want to do the right thing,” he says.

He also recalls "talking about having maybe a social-justice officer that can point people in the right direction. So whenever you wanna help out the community, you have someone that works with the team that can help.”

Patrick Mahomes
Pari Dukovic

Mahomes — whose mother is white and his father is Black — says that as the son of an MLB player in a small town he was spared from some of the "craziness that happens in this world."

“I understand that not everyone feels like that,” he tells GQ, “just from listening to people, from being around people growing up, from college to the NFL. The more I mature, I've learned that I was blessed to be in the situation that I was in.”

But Mahomes has had to deal with hate over his heritage as bi-racial.

“I've seen how people, on Twitter, have tweeted and said, ‘Oh, you're not full Black,’ ” he says in the interview. “But I've always just had the confidence and believed in who I am. And I've known that I'm Black. And I'm proud to be Black. And I'm proud to have a white mom too. I'm just proud of who I am. And I've always had that confidence in myself.”