Amid a day in which multiple NFL teams ceased practicing and commenced talking about social justice, racial inequality and the task of bringing about reform, passionate words were spoken all across the football world, a most emphatic statement was delivered by the Baltimore Ravens franchise on Thursday evening.
The statement specifically called for the prosecution of those responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake and demanded Sen. Mitch McConnell to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the Senate floor for a vote. It also offered myriad other precise ways to take action in order to bring about change and ultimately concluded with a promise to use the team's platform to do all it could to reshape the future.
"It is time to accept accountability and acknowledge the ramifications of slavery and racial injustice," the Ravens said.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that Ravens players and coaches met for roughly four hours on Thursday discussing how to respond in the wake of Blake's shooting.
The Baltimore Ravens' statement in full:
"With yet another example of racial discrimination with the shooting of Jacob Blake, and the unlawful abuse of peaceful protesters, we MUST unify as a society. It is imperative that all people -- regardless of race, religion, creed or belief -- come together to say, 'Enough is enough!'
"This is bigger than sports. Racism is embedded in the fabric of our nation's foundation and is a blemish on our country's history. If we are to change course and make our world a better place, we must face this problem head-on and act now to enact positive change.
"It is time to accept accountability and acknowledge the ramifications of slavery and racial injustice.
"Though we cannot right all the wrongs of our country's history, we can:
- Arrest and charge the police officers responsible for Breonna Taylor's killing and the shooting of Jacob Blake.
- Demand that Senator Mitch McConnell bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the Senate floor for vote.
- End qualified immunity; require body cameras; ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants; hold police accountable in court; establish a framework to prohibit racial profiling at federal, state, and local levels
- Support state- and federally-mandated CALEA Accreditation and national standards of care in policing.
- Encourage everyone to engage in the political process by registering to vote on both the local and national level. (www.risetovote.turbovote.org.)
- Demand prison sentencing reform that is fair and equitable.
- Encourage every citizen to act with respect and compliance when engaging with the police. If you feel there has been an abuse of power, we encourage you to contact your police department's internal affairs unit. (For Baltimore City, dial 410-396-2300.)
"We will use our platform to drive change now – not just for our generation, but for the generations that follow, for our sons and daughters and for their children."
A number of Ravens players praised the team's statement on social media.