NFL players use Super Bowl as platform to bring attention to nation's race-relation issues

HOUSTON – The parties, the concerts - those are only part of what's happening during Super Bowl week in Houston.

There are also serious topics being tackled in our city right now.

Some well-known football players are using the platform to bring attention to race relations in the country.

That was the focus of a "town hall" discussion at Texas Southern University on Friday.

They talked about how to turn protests into progress.

"I'm only in the NFL for nine to 10 years, but I'm a black man, so everything going on in the black community affects me. I have to be a part of it," Seattle Seahawks DL Michael Bennett said.

They were also talking about race relations in the locker room.

"I didn't understand why some of my teammates couldn't validate police brutality or were pro-cop," New York Jets WR Brandon Marshall said.

The town hall was hosted by the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, to encourage athletes to be leaders in racial progress.

"People haven't really used sports in the past to create change, and I think it's a great place to do it," Ross said.

Players using their platform for change - a move witnessed by millions of people as players across all sports joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence against African Americans.

The players are encouraging everyone to take part in the fight for equality.

"Get off the couch, get off Twitter. Let's go rebuild our communities," Bennett said.

Many of the athletes said they're already turning their activism into action by hosting similar town halls in their communities.