The NFL has again been very vocal on social justice issues, especially after the incident of Jacob Blake.
Over the weekend, 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot seven times by Wisconsin police for an apparent domestic incident, CBS News reports. Blake is now fighting for his life as he is paralyzed from the bullets that have appeared to sever his spinal cord and damage part of his vertebrate, CBS News also reports.
The events in Wisconsin prompted the Detroit Lions to cancel Tuesday’s preseason camp practice to protest gun violence against minorities in America and police brutality. Instead of practicing, members of the Lions stood outside their camp facility to address the media regarding the mass injustice America has been facing this year, ESPN reports.
Safety Duron Harmon led the speech for the Lions, saying “Football is not important today. We have a platform that we are able to use to not only raise awareness but to create change. And we decided today that we’re going to step forward and we were going to create change.”
Defensive end Trey Flowers also joined in, saying “We can’t be silent. We can’t stay silent. Today we unify. We stand here and came up with this [Image of “We Won’t Be Silent!!! One Pride” banner]. These words, these slogans, and we are here to spread the message”
This idea came after a meeting with coach Matt Patricia and the team where they decided they wanted to cancel practice and organize a protest outside their training facility to address this tragic event, ESPN reports.
Several players on the New Orleans Saints tweeted their reactions to the Blake shooting, including wide receiver Michael Thomas, running back Alvin Kamara, and defensive end Cameron Jordon.
Stop killing unarmed black people.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) August 24, 2020
3 officers, 1 male? And the only way to subdue 1 man was to fire 7 rounds…
— cameron jordan (@camjordan94) August 24, 2020
Attempted murder.. I pray he survives. https://t.co/bGvhKzZTCv
— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) August 24, 2020
The Green Bay Packers also released a statement regarding the Blake shooting that happened just two and a half hours south from Green Bay:
“The Packers organization was shocked to see the video that showed police shooting Jacob Blake multiple times in the back. We are hopeful Jacob makes a full recovery, and our thoughts are with his family.
“While we understand a full investigation of this terrible incident will take place, we are deeply troubled at what again has become a painful example of the significant challenges we face with respect to police brutality, systemic racism and injustices against Black people. We continue to call for meaningful dialogue to affect the needed change we all desire.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers also took the time to speak about systematic racism in America. “There’s a systemic problem, and until the problem is fixed, this is going to be an all too common sighting in this country,” Rogers said according to Fox News. “It obviously hits home being not far from Green Bay. I’m not going to comment directly on the video until more facts come out, but obviously it’s something whereas a nonpolice officer, I think for a lot of us the natural question is when is lethal force necessary?”
Coming from a league that is so diverse, many NFL teams show their support and advocacy for equal rights and the fight to stop police brutality when the NFL season starts in more than two weeks.