In his 12 seasons in the NFL, Marshawn Lynch has built a reputation for fearlessness on the field, while off the field he is one of the league’s most reclusive figures.

Today, a retiree is speaking out to help members of the black and Hispanic community make more informed decisions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

And to do this, he enlisted the help of the country’s leading specialist in infectious diseases.

Lynch posted a 30-minute interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on his YouTube channel on Friday, becoming the latest high-profile athlete to sit down with him to discuss the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines as the U.S. continues to fight the pandemic.

Since hanging up his cleats after the 2019 season, Lynch, 34, has remained involved in his home community of Oakland, California, through his Fam 1st Family Foundation, which has launched several educational and charitable initiatives to help residents.

Lynch himself is not vaccinated, and he told Fauci that his community’s distrust of vaccine safety remains high.

When it comes to the government giving something back to communities that look like me, we don’t seem to be on the acceptable side of these situations, Lynch Fauci said in an interview recorded late last month. It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost a gamble.

Campaigns targeting black communities in the United States are successfully trying to convince people that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

These efforts have been supported with millions of dollars by President Joe Biden’s administration and grassroots groups urging black Americans to get vaccinated and set aside what for some is a general historical distrust of science and government.

A March poll by the Associated Press-NORC Public Affairs Research Center found that about 24 percent of black Americans said they would or probably would not get the vaccine. This is down from 41% in January. According to recent data, black Americans are shot almost as often as whites (26%) and Hispanics (22%).

Fauci says it’s an unwillingness to fully understand black and Hispanic people.

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The dislike you express is a dislike based on historical reality, Fauci said. So how do we overcome this? And the reason we have to go to the extreme is we don’t want African-Americans in the community to not have the advantage of protecting what really works because of history.

And he said he wanted to tap all available sources for information.

That’s why we’re talking to you, Marshawn, Fauci said.

As he has done in other interviews, Fauci addressed the general concerns that have been raised about coronavirus vaccines, including the speed of their development. He also noted that minorities are well represented in clinical trials.

Although it took less than a year to introduce the virus into the human body, Fauci said it took decades of work.

Lynch’s interview with Fauci also comes at a time when several NFL players have issued statements through the NFL Players Association indicating they will not participate in voluntary personal training sessions at team facilities this season. The list includes two former Lynch teams: Seattle Seahawks and Las Vegas Raiders.

In a memo sent Tuesday to all 32 teams and obtained by The Associated Press, Commissioner Roger Goodell said COVID-19 safety protocols will begin to relax as players and other team members are vaccinated.

Lynch said he hopes efforts to strengthen dialogue with minority communities will continue once the pandemic is under control.

For me, everything is educational, Lynch said. Let’s hope it reaches those who need information, who need education. Let’s hope this will have an effect.

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