The Seahawks' Pete Carroll called out his coaching contemporaries Saturday as it concerned their commitment to social justice. Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy challenged NFL owners.
The Green Bay exec released a video on the team's website outlining several initiatives the club is taking while urging others in his position to follow suit, marking the first time an individual at an ownership level has placed such a spotlight on his peers regarding the Black community.
"They are in powerful, privileged positions and can make a huge difference, and, obviously, have close relations with everybody in all their organizations," Murphy said in the video. "It's time to make changes."
Murphy noted he met with his players Thursday and was taken by how upset but also united they were in the aftermath of Jacob Blake's shooting at the hands of police in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rather than practice, the Packers came away with several measures they're prioritizing moving forward. They include: pushing for more body cameras on police officers; getting people registered to vote; using the Johnsonville Tailgate Village as a polling station for the upcoming election in November; continued discussions with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin State Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke; making a $250,000 social justice impact grant (the team has already provided $500K in social justice grants this year).
"Racially motivated events over the last couple months have had an impact on our entire organization, particularly the horrific shooting of Jacob Blake," Murphy said. "... We feel this is an issue that obviously impacts the Black community but it's not up to just the Black community to solve this issue. It's on all of us. I often hear from fans that we should just stick to sports. I have to respectfully disagree. Sports has a long history of speaking out for positive change."
After summoning the likes of Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, Murphy reminded that legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi was early in the signing and support of Black players, going so far as to inform local businesses they would be blacklisted by the team if they discriminated against any of its players. Murphy then called on sponsors, local businesses, community leaders and fans to get behind Green Bay's off-the-field efforts.
"How could we celebrate the achievements of our Black players without acknowledging, supporting and advocating their basic rights as American citizens?" Murphy asked. "... The issues we're facing, they're not political issues, they're societal issues. They're issues affecting basic human rights."