After a day that saw the NBA and WNBA strike and multiple MLB teams follow suit, many NFL teams have canceled practices and team activities scheduled for Thursday, just two weeks before the start of its season. So far, the Colts, Jets, Titans, Cardinals, Bears, Packers, and Washington have canceled practices, while Adam Schefter of ESPN reported he expects more to do the same.
The Colts said they would “use the day to discuss and work toward making a lasting social impact and inspiring change in our communities.”
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury gave his usual practice day media availability, but used the opportunity to discuss his perspective on the latest national uprising in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. In his virtual call with reporters, Kingsbury highlighted a conversation with his father, a military veteran, and reiterated that kneeling or demonstrating against social injustice “doesn’t reflect a lack of patriotism or respect for the military in any way.”
Kingsbury went on to say that demonstrations like kneeling during the national anthem or canceling games and practices are “about increasing awareness that racism exists” and that “police brutality against people of color continues to happen.”
Other teams like the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints opted to practice while also coming together in their own way, with Saints cornerback Janoris Jenkins wearing Jacob Blake’s name across his helmet.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 27, 2020
The Ravens practiced, but following their workouts, met to sketch out a plan for how their team will contribute to “continued social justice reform efforts.”
NFL games don’t start for a couple of weeks, but the league and its players are already showing that they will be part of ongoing athlete protests this season.