The Minnesota Vikings held a practice on Thursday afternoon, following a two-hour team meeting discussing the social injustices circulating the world right now. Mike Zimmer and Andre Patterson held a virtual press conference discussing some of the details after practice.
Zimmer and Patterson discussed coming from different backgrounds and how that has shaped their viewpoints on what’s going on in the world. Although they both come from different backgrounds, both noted how good of a relationship the two have.
“Like Zim said we’ve known each other for a long time, growing up in the world in totally different areas. The one thing that we’ve been able to have over the course of a long time is the two of us can sit and have candid conversations,” Patterson said. “Which means that we might not agree on how each of us sees it, but to me the beauty of the relationship is that each one of us are willing to listen to one another and gain knowledge. Whether I turn around and agree with how Zim sees it or not at least I understand where he’s coming from. And to me I think that’s the thing we need in our society to make change happen.”
This was followed up by Patterson saying the players know that he would take a bullet for Zimmer, who smiled and said, “we’re not going to let you take a bullet.”
Zimmer talked about his takeaways from the meeting and brought up some factors that have changed his viewpoints on these issues. He discussed a story that Patterson brought up during the Vikings two-hour meeting earlier on Thursday.
“I think the biggest thing for me is learning about some of the stories that these players have told what’s happened to them in the past. Especially where I haven’t walked in their shoes, it’s totally different for me,” Zimmer said. “Andre [Patterson] told me he’s been pulled over three times and had guns pulled on him. He wasn’t doing anything, he wasn’t speeding, his blinker wasn’t wrong, he wasn’t changing lanes and they let him go each time. That’s not right and that kind of opens your eyes about some things that you don’t know about because you haven’t lived it.”
A big part of the conversation was about listening to one another despite not always agreeing with someone else's viewpoint.
“I don’t think it’s a political statement because you want to get involved in your community and make things better,” Patterson said. “This is about everybody, not just black people, white people, it’s about human beings being kind and loving and caring to each other. That’s what we’re trying to do. It’s about human beings being able to care about one another.”
This was followed by an “amen brother” from Zimmer’s portion of the screen.
There are a lot of things going on in this world and the two Vikings coaches had some insightful messages to get out. People are going to disagree with one another and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
The world could learn a lot from the powerful press conference held between Zimmer and Patterson Thursday evening.