The Broncos are set to celebrate the NFL's Inspire Change initiative during their final home game of the season on Saturday.
Over the course of the game, the team will highlight the initiative by putting a spotlight on the work done by players, the team and the league for social justice, which includes a goal of ending systemic racism and helping those affected by it overcome the barriers to economic, social, political and other types of opportunities in their lives.
The Broncos participate in the year-round initiative in a variety of ways under four categories:
- Education: The players and the team have worked with children in the juvenile justice system, hosted a multi-week program with children from the Broncos Boys & Girls Club and much more.
- Awareness & Funding: The team has continued its "We Stand For" campaign to provide a platform for players to talk about issues that are close to their heart, and the organization has continued to make an annual $250,000 contribution to causes and organizations that make a difference in the community, as selected by players.
- Diversity & Inclusion:The organization's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, led by Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion China Jude, develops programming and other initiatives for the Broncos. The team also hosted its first DEI Career Huddle in April, as members of the organization spoke on discussion panels for more than 400 students and young professionals.
- Activism: The Broncos supported players as they advocated for policy and legislative reform, providing them with opportunities to speak with local leaders from around the state. The team also encourages residents to register to vote through its Broncos Country Votes initiative.
In addition to the Broncos' organizational contributions, many Broncos players have gone above and beyond in supporting the Inspire Change initiative.
Safety Justin Simmons has been one of those players, as racial justice has been a key part of his work in the community, especially with organizations like the Colorado Freedom Fund, which helps pay cash bail for those who cannot afford it.
"It's just been an honor to not only work with some of my teammates, but to work with, we've been working closely with the Colorado Freedom Fund and Elisabeth Epps and her staff," Simmons said. "They've just been absolutely amazing in terms of education and just helping us figure out what fighting for equality looks like in today's world [and] how to do that strategically, politically, all the things in between."
On Saturday, the Broncos will celebrate the important work that Simmons and so many of his teammates do. Players will wear Inspire Change decals on their helmets, and coaches, personnel and players will have Inspire Change knit hats, which can be purchased at retail with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Inspire Change grant recipients.
For the Broncos, the dedication to social justice reform will only continue to grow. According to Simmons, there's much more to come in 2022.
"There are some great things that we're working on now, that I think are going to be super impactful," Simmons said. "Bill-wise and in the offseason, I'll be in touch with a lot of people about those things, because it's kind of still a work in progress now. … It's just been great, and I've been just so thankful to be able to work with them and my teammates."
Below the Fold
Broncos RB Javonte Williams continues to shine through his rookie season.
Denver's second-round pick has earned a reputation as a tackle-breaking machine, and he has the stats to back it up.
Williams owns the highest rate of forced missed tackles per rush in the league, at 31%, according to Pro Football Focus. He also shares the league lead in forced missed tackles (60) with RB Jonathan Taylor, but Williams has managed to do it with far fewer rushing attempts.
There arguably wasn't a more impressive back in all of football on a per-touch basis than Javonte Williams," PFF's Ian Hartitz said.