Detroit Lions Players Cancel Practice Due to Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Man in Wisconsin
People are expressing outrage after an unarmed Black man was shot point-blank by a white Wisconsin police officer on video. In a show of support and solidarity, the Detroit Lions canceled practice Tuesday in response.
The shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old father, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, took place Sunday afternoon. Video footage shows that he was shot multiple times by white police officers in front of his children as he entered his vehicle. He was then taken to the hospital where he is listed in stable condition at the ICU in Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee.
“While some people think that we’re just football players,” Lions safety Duron Harmon said, according to FOX 2 Detroit, “this league, 67% — two-thirds of its players — are African American. Jacob Blake could have been anybody’s brother, cousin, uncle, friend. Could have been them. And it wasn’t OK.”
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia was in front of his players Monday morning and according to NFL.com, he opened up the floor for the players to discuss what was on their minds. Within minutes, football had taken a backseat to life.
This was when Patricia realized that the team had to cancel practice. The players then got together in front of the training facility and displayed a sign that said, “THE WORLD CAN’T GO ON!”
The world can’t go on pic.twitter.com/bT9KCQ3SkK
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 25, 2020
“When I got into coaching a number of years ago and decided to coach football and leave engineering, one of the biggest things to me and the biggest factors for me was trying to make a difference in people’s lives and trying to just really be there,” Patricia told reporters Tuesday. “I know certainly that the coaches in my life helped me grow as a young person, and certainly my dad who was a coach — that was big also. … Football is great. I love it. It’s my passion. It’s everything that I think about all the time, competing at the highest level. But it’s about people, it’s about relationships, it’s about trying to help those who need help in any facet whether if it’s on or off the field. And it’s to listen.”
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 26, 2020
The Chicago Bears also issued a statement that the team is “deeply disturbed” by the shooting.
“The Chicago Bears are deeply disturbed by yet another instance of a police officer using excessive force against a Black person, this time on Sunday evening in Kenosha, a community just up the road from Halas Hall,” the statement read. “Jacob Blake is the latest name added to a list that tragically continues to grow. We will continue to use our voice and resources to be a proponent of change and we support the efforts of all those who are peacefully fighting for equality and the end of systemic racism in our communities. Our thoughts are with Jacob and his family and we pray for his recovery.”