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Eagles' Jeffrey Lurie: There's been a 'sea change' in NFL owners working with players on social justice

Jeffrey Lurie sees America concurrently battling two pandemics, and he isn't happy with how it's faring with either one.

The Philadelphia Eagles owner sounded off on several topics Sunday, including the country's handling of COVID-19 and race relations. He intimated both could lead to players missing games this season.

"There's so much pain both in our country and around the world, and obviously we're going through two terrible, terrible pandemics, one that's existed for the history of our entire country, the pandemic of systemic racism, violence to minorities, oppression, all that kind of activities that have been part of our history, and obviously the once-in-the-last-100-years health pandemic that's been devastating, as well," Lurie told reporters during a 50-minute video call.

Following a week in which NBA, WNBA and MLB teams elected not to play games and NFL teams opted not to practice to address social justice concerns in response to the police shooting of Wisconsin native Jacob Blake, Lurie said he respects players taking a stand.

"I'm supportive of everything that's involved in terms of trying to create attention and social change, and I've always been that way," Lurie said. "And if we have to sacrifice, we have to sacrifice. But I guess my most important opportunity to discuss that would be what can we do that's really effective and it's not simply a statement but something that is going to have action involved with it."

His comments come a day after Packers CEO Mark Murphy detailed several initiatives his team is taking regarding social justice while also challenging NFL owners to follow suit. Lurie concurred that there's an onus on them given their "positions of access." And he believes they welcome it.

"I see a league that wants to be as proactive as possible," Lurie said. "I've seen this for a couple years now. I think it's increasing, and it's really -- it's eye-opening in a great way. I just think you've got a lot of owners and a lot of league people that are completely in back of trying to be agents for change and helping the solution, and listen to the players. That's a sea change over the last couple years, and I'm really happy about it." 

Other subjects Lurie addressed:

  • The Eagles are offering up Lincoln Financial Field as a polling location and providing other support designed to facilitate voting registration and participation.
  • Lurie has been pleased with how the NFL is dealing with the novel coronavirus: "I am optimistic that we'll be able to play our games. So far, things are going awfully well in terms of the protocols. They're very, very detailed, and rightly so. I'm optimistic, but I'm also really cognizant that the virus will control that. We will not control that."
  • Lurie acknowledged the league mishandled Colin Kaepernick's protests four years ago: "I think that the NFL probably didn't listen well enough to what he was really saying because I think that we could have, as a league, listened more."
  • Lurie reiterated that DeSean Jackson's social media posts from the summer involving quotes falsely attributed to Adolph Hitler were "disgusting and appalling," while noting the veteran wide receiver has shown repentance: "So far, everything that we've asked him to do to both educate himself and to learn and take action, he's done completely. So, I would hope that would continue."

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