The Minnesota Vikings committed to educating and informing players, coaches, staff and fans about the importance of voting and the way to register to vote this year.
This season, teams across the NFL held mandatory "NFL Votes" informational sessions for players, coaches and staff members. Clubs were able to partner with one of three nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations (I Am a Voter, RISE to Vote and Rock the Vote) for the sessions.
"I think it was extremely important," Alexander Mattison said. "I knew a lot of [the information] simply because I come from a family where that was kind of [emphasized], but some of my teammates really didn't know [how] to register to vote and where you vote and how the voting process went.
"I think it was really important for us to do as a team," he added.
Working together with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, the Vikings have used the team's platform to encourage fans to register and safely participate in the electoral process in the lead-up to the Nov. 3 general election.
Efforts included the following:
- Launching a series of player-led voting content to educate and inform fans on the ways to vote this year
- Providing $20,000 of personal protective equipment (PPE) for polling workers throughout Minnesota
- Hosting voter educational sessions with the entire Vikings staff and players/coaches in conjunction with Rock the Vote and Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon with the goal of having 100% of the organization registered to vote in the November election
- Participating in "Here We Vote" video message campaign with MNvotes.org
- Joining a Minnesota professional team PSA with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State and MNvotes.org
- Game-day field messaging during game vs. the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium
- Creating a dedicated resource for voting information at Vikings.com/bethechange
- Launching a "text to vote" campaign; text Vikings to 788-683 to get registered to vote
Since offseason discussions began with the team's player-led Social Justice Committee, voting was always a top priority.
"Voting is important because it wasn't always a right that people of color had. It's something that was earned and fought for over a very long period of time," said Anthony Barr. "To finally have that opportunity and [as] a citizen of the United States, it's your civil duty to go and vote and have your voice heard.
Fellow linebacker Eric Kendricks, 28, also said his perspective on voting has evolved over the years. He noted that he didn't quite grasp the weightiness of the responsibility at age 18.
"But now as I get older, I realize what my ancestors went through … and how important the right is," he said. "So now I take it a lot more serious and try to be involved in my local elections as well as my presidential elections.
"It's my right as a citizen of the United States," Kendricks later added. "And if I'm going to be having an opinion on issues, having a conversation with some of my friends and peers about issues that we're having or things that are going on in the country, I've got to vote and make sure I'm not being hypocritical."
The Vikings Social Justice Committee members – and the team as a whole – has committed to "Be the Change" and together work toward a positive shift in society, teammates understand that voting truly provides a voice to each and every individual who fills out a ballot.
Visit www.vikings.com/bethechange for more information on how the Vikings have been involved leading up to the election and how you can make a difference this year.