Multiple NFL teams canceled their practices Thursday in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting by Kenosha (Wisconsin) police.
The Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans canceled their practices, while the Arizona Cardinals, who were not scheduled to practice Thursday, announced they would not hold team activities. NFL Network's James Palmer reported the Denver Broncos decided not to practice following a meeting that lasted more than two hours.
The NFL and NFL Players Association released a join statement Thursday afternoon, commending teams and players and vowing to continue the movement for social justice.
The Los Angeles Chargers canceled their scrimmage at SoFi Stadium, where the venue's Oculus video board posted a recent quote from Blake's sister, Letetra Widman: "I'm not sad. I don't want your pity. I want change."
"We just had a team meeting in the locker room, and we're not going to scrimmage today," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said on NFL Network. "We're going to do something different. I thought what we did in the locker room, in that last hour, was 10 times more powerful of what we could've done on the football field today."
The Washington Football Team announced Wednesday night that it would not hold its scrimmage Thursday.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported the Packers players met as a team Thursday morning and the team's leadership council met with coach Matt LaFleur, and this afternoon the team will screen Ava DuVernay's 13th, a documentary on the history of racial inequality in the U.S. and the country's prison-industrial complex.
The Bears said they decided "to pause our football activities to voice to each other, our coaches and our staff where we stand on the real issues around race and police brutality in our country."
"We had a productive discussion, but we all agreed that talks and discussions are simply not enough anymore and we need action," the team said in a statement. "We are putting in plans to take action in our communities and together we believe we can make a real difference. We need action not only today, but in the days to come."
In their announcement, the Colts said they plan to use the time to discuss and work "towards making a lasting social impact and inspiring change in our communities."
The Broncos released the following statement in support of their players:
"Following a team meeting this morning to discuss the horrific events in Kenosha, Wis., and the many social injustices around the country, the Denver Broncos have canceled all football activities today," the statement read. "As an organization, we are outraged and disgusted with the shooting of Jacob Blake. Our hears go out to his children, family and the entire Kenosha community. While this tragedy took place in Melvin Gordon's hometown of Kenosha, this hits home for all of us. In the strongest terms, we condemn policy brutality, excessive force and these senseless acts of violence that have caused so much pain. It is time for accountability and real police reform. The players are standing together as a team. More importantly, they are standing up for those who need them the most.
"We applaud the strength, unity and leadership of the players. The Denver Broncos will fully and unconditionally support them. Today is about reflection and identifying ways to affect meaningful change. The strongest statement we can make is by taking action. It will take all of us."
The teams followed the lead of the Detroit Lions, who became the first NFL team to cancel a practice on Tuesday, in response to the police shooting of Blake, a 29-year-old Black man.
A number of teams elected to practice Thursday while acknowledging the events taking place across the country. The Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints all practiced.
Each player on the Saints practiced with Jacob Blake's name written on his helmet Thursday.
Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty told reporters that the team practiced out of routine and he doesn't know if they have the right answers on if they should practice or not, acknowledging a feeling of "hopelessness" and players feel "lost", per NFL Network's Mike Giardi.
Jason's brother and Patriots safety Devin McCourty also addressed reporters Thursday.
"It's hard to sit here and talk about football with everything going on in our country," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. "The conversation within our football team is ongoing. Obviously difficult times where things have to change. I find it disturbing."
The NBA postponed three playoff games Wednesday night after Bucks players elected not to play their game against the Magic in protest of the latest shooting of a Black man by police. The WNBA later announced it too was postponing its games slated for Wednesday. Both leagues have since postponed their games scheduled to be played Thursday.
The MLB also rescheduled several games in the aftermath of Blake's shooting and subsequent protests in Wisconsin, during which three protesters were shot, two killed, by a 17-year-old white male who has been charged with homicide.
The Packers put out the following statement Monday on the Kenosha shooting which took place in the Wisconsin city roughly 150 miles south of 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."
The Browns also joined the Cleveland NBA and MLB franchises to create an alliance to social injustice facing the city of Cleveland and all Northeast Ohio communities.
On Thursday afternoon, the Baltimore Ravens released a lengthy statement with distinct ways in which change could be brought about, including calling for the arrests of the officers who shot Blake and Breonna Taylor.