Myles Garrett has always wanted to make the most of his NFL platform when it comes to making a difference in society.
He understands how much impact he can make as an NFL player and how his actions can inspire others in a positive way. Since the May 25 death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, protests and social reform movements have taken place across the country, and Garrett has been active to promote the good causes of those movements on social media.
That was also how he found out about David McAtee, a BBQ chef in Louisville, Kentucky, who died June 1 after police and the Kentucky National Guard were called to dissipate a large crowd during a protest outside his restaurant. McAtee was shot after officers were shot at and returned fire, according to a report from the Courier-Journal.
Garrett was able to get in contact with the McAtee family and arranged to cover the funeral costs.
"I was very taken aback by something like that," Garrett said. "I really wanted to reach out and help where I could. It was kind of about those stories that reached me personally and touched me on a deeper level."
The Browns signed Garrett to a five-year contract extension Wednesday and made him the highest-paid defensive player in the league. Cleveland will be home to Garrett's dominance and record-breaking potential through 2026, and his presence alone will make the Browns defense difficult to prepare for an opposing quarterback every Sunday.
Garrett also said he reached out to the family of St. Louis police chief David Dorn, who was fatally shot June 2 when responding to an alarm at a pawnshop being looted by a man. Dorn, a 77-year-old retired police captain, was remembered as a role model police officer who wanted to help guide young men and women interested in a career in law enforcement.
Garrett spoke with the family and wanted to cover funeral costs as well but could not find a way to pay for it through official channels.
"I have family who have been in the force," Garrett said. "I have friends and family that have been in the force. I have friends and family that have been in the military. I do not have anything against people who serve or know what they are doing. I just believe there needs to be a better regulation on those who are put in that position of authority and who are told to enforce the law but also protect us as citizens. David Dorn was a great representation of that for many years."
Garrett advocated for more NFL players and personnel to use their platform and voice to create change in social justice. He wants to continue doing what he can to help others, and he plans to stay in touch with the families he's helped to show his ongoing support and care.
"I know that this is something that will be part of their family forever," Garrett said. "I just wanted to make sure they are good and that they are taken care of, and that it is not just a one-off thing. I want to see them prosper and their families around them do the same."