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Multiple NFL teams to observe Juneteenth as permanent holiday

On the heels of Commissioner Roger Goodell's announcement that the NFL will observe Juneteenth, multiple NFL teams have established June 19 as a permanent company holiday moving forward.

The Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts all announced this week that they would permanently recognize Juneteenth.

Juneteenth marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas and proclaimed that slavery in the United States had ended and the Civil War was over.

Broncos team president and CEO Joe Ellis announced Monday during a series of town halls with employees that Juneteenth will be a permanent and paid holiday for the organization. The Broncos' UCHealth Training Center and Empower Field at Mile High will be closed this Friday, as the team encourages a day of reflection, learning and service.

"The Detroit Lions and Ford Field are establishing the observance of Juneteenth as a permanent organizational holiday and closing their offices Friday, June 19," the Lions announced Tuesday. "Staff will be encouraged to use the day as an opportunity to reflect and further their awareness around racial inequality and social injustice."

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill sent an email to staff Tuesday announcing his organization's plans to make the day a permanent paid team holiday so that the franchise could "reflect on the history of civil rights in the United States and how we can all work together for a much better future."

The Packers announced that Juneteenth will be an annual observance for the organization and their offices and businesses would be closed Friday.

"The Packers will be observing Juneteenth and taking the opportunity to reflect on our own roles and opportunities to further our awareness of racial injustices and inequities and what we can do to affect positive change in our communities," Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement.

Ravens president Dick Cass announced in a Wednesday statement that "in light of all the past several weeks, it seems a particularly appropriate time for us to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday this year and in future years. Celebrating Juneteenth will give us all an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and on far far we have to go."

In addition to recognizing Juneteenth as a permanent company holiday, the Colts announced two measures to "further support our Black community."

Indianapolis created the full-time position of Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which will work with the entire organization on social responsibility, hiring, education, training and other topics. The Colts also created the Irsay Family Impact Scholarship, the recipient of which will receive financial support across four years of high school (transportation included) in addition to four years tuition at Indiana University.

The Kansas City Chiefs announced Monday night that they were recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday and their offices would be closed Friday. "We encourage our staff to examine how each of us and our organization can work towards a better future together," the Chiefs said in a statement.

The Carolina Panthers announced Tuesday that their offices would be closed this Friday. "The observance of Juneteenth originated as a day to remember the slaves who were notified of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, thus granting them their freedom," the Panthers said in a statement. "We know that for too long, the black community has faced injustices that our society has worked to correct everyday but we still have a long way to go."

The Houston Texans announced they will also recognize June 19 in an article on the team's website. The club "will close their business and football offices on Friday in recognition of Juneteenth, celebrated as the official 'Emancipation Day' in the United States. Employees, who are mostly still working from home, are encouraged to reflect on how they can contribute to social justice on this holiday."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Wednesday their offices will be closed Friday to recognize Juneteenth. "We must be purposeful in our reflection, acknowledgement and efforts towards achieving collective change in society. As we work together in this process, we must re-examine all manners in which cultural inequities that have existed for centuries continue to impact race relations."

The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday the organization will observe Juneteenth as a company-wide holiday.

"We have encouraged our employees to use this day to celebrate black history and culture, seek a greater understanding of social injustice and racial inequality, and embrace our nation's diversity," Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula said in a statement.

Goodell's initial June 12 announcement that the league's offices will be closed due to the holiday read as follows:

"This year, as we work together as a family and in our communities to combat the racial injustices that remain deeply rooted into the fabric of our society, the NFL will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19th as a recognized holiday and our league offices will be closed," Goodell wrote in an internal memo to staff. "It is a day to reflect on our past, but more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future."

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