Three NFL players are spending a portion of their offseason on Capitol Hill engaging with policymakers as part of the league’s “externship” program.
This year's participants in the program are: New York Giants safety Michael Thomas, who is working with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) for the second year in a row; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Austin Carr, in the office of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); and Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Ryan Hunter, working with Sen Josh Hawley (R-MO).
"I'm excited for this externship because it gives me the chance to connect with Congress in our ongoing efforts to create real change in our communities," Thomas said in a statement released by the Dolphins.
Thomas was one of a number of players who joined Colin Kaepernick in the protest of police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem in 2017, though Thomas chose not to continue to kneel during this past NFL season.
"I mean, it's going to take, you know, it's going to take time. Nothing happens overnight. I can see how other people can say, 'Man, like, that's slow. We need something now. We need to do something now.' And I get that passion, I feel it," Thomas said
The NFL's externship program started in 2014 and matches players with professional experiences they may be interested in as part of a post-NFL career. Players typically spend a little less than a month on Capitol Hill as part of the program.
"Me being here, being in the inside interning, I see the steps that need to be taken. I'm willing to put in the work. I'm willing to advocate for it.” Thomas said. “I'm willing to help out Congresswoman Jackson Lee any way I can, using my voice and my platform, same way I did it on a football field in taking a knee.”
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