Pridgen calls out Bills for making rookie mistake

Jun 1, 2017

Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen took to Facebook to call out the Buffalo Bills for taking their newest players on a tour of the region that featured only traditional tourist attractions, like Canalside and Niagara Falls.

He also called out the media for its coverage of the tour as "great," including African American outlets that did not include in their coverage or question the exclusion of African-American locations on the tour.

"Tonight it was like a light that went off: How the heck are they gonna know the inner city if they don't get exposed?" Pridgen asked. "It's like, 'We're gonna take you to the places that you can say oooh.' No. Take them to the places that are rough. Take them because if they came from the hood, and many of them did, and now they see the hood in the city they represent, maybe they would be more involved in the hood." 

Every new season, the Buffalo Bills take their rookies on a tour of the region before play begins. It usually includes traditional tourist attractions. Pridgen said he has "no hate" for those attractions, but he is "fuming" that inner city and other non-traditional locations were excluded.

"Let me tell you why I'm doing this: African American Heritage Corridor. Next year, if, if the Bills tour and other tours are not on that? Garbage," Pridgen said. "No shame to Canalside. They did their thing, but African Americans? We've got to do ours. Why didn't they go to anything that looked like a lot of the people who were on that bus? We don't say nothing."

His video includes a direct "plea" to team owners Terry and Kim Pegula:

"Show them everything. Show them the struggling East Side and the struggling South Buffalo, West Side," he said. "Show them North Buffalo, but show them the real deal so if they, with some of their millions, they decide we want to be involved in Buffalo, because they came from an era where you get involved where you make your money."

Pridgen returned to Facebook the next day to say he received a call from the team, which promised next season's tour would be more inclusive.

"I want to show appreciation to Mr. Jenkins for reaching out, for making the call," he said. "He was very direct in his feelings. I was very direct in mine. At the end of the day, we came to the point where he said and I quote, 'We will work with you to incorporate other areas in next year's tour.' That's a start."