Bears chairman: ‘We must do more than wring our hands’ after George Floyd killing
Chairman George McCaskey condemned police brutality in the wake of the death last week of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Bears chairman George McCaskey condemned police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death last week at the hands of Minneapolis police and said coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace spent a two-hour team meeting Monday ‘‘listening to and healing together with our players and coaching staff.’’
‘‘A week ago, another unarmed African American man died at the hands of a white police officer,’’ McCaskey said in a statement issued Monday night. ‘‘We are witnessing the anger and frustration play out in protests across the nation, including Chicago. We must do more than wring our hands and hope it doesn’t happen again. As an organization, we have addressed it internally by offering unconditional support to our family of staff, coaches and players. . . .
‘‘Through our voice, our action and our resources, it is our obligation to lead. We will continue to work with our player-led social-justice committee to provide funding and exposure to local organizations dedicated to empowering communities that have been oppressed for far too long.’’
Nagy told NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” that the Bears had planned to “put Xs and Os on the back burner” Monday.
“We’re going to talk through it, and if guys want to talk more or less, that’s fine — it’s up to them,” he said. “But I think that’s where it’s about the family. My wife and I teach our four boys about respect and love, and now’s the time to prove it and show it. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Nagy talked to team leaders over the weekend. He said he wanted his players to know that he had their backs and was willing to listen. He said the team will focus on togetherness.
“That’s listening to others and making sure that you have healthy discussions,” he said. “There’s going to be different opinions, but to listen and to do it together in the end.”
On Saturday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement saying the league was ‘‘greatly saddened by the tragic events.’’ But for free-agent safety Eric Reid and Texans receiver Kenny Stills, those words rang hollow.
‘‘Save the [expletive],’’ Stills tweeted.
Reid and Stills are among the handful of NFL players who continued to kneel during the national anthem last season, a demonstration first made by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 and hasn’t been signed since.
The protests were deemed unpatriotic by critics, including President Donald Trump, and owners later voted to require players to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room.
The NFL since has created an ‘‘Inspire Change’’ campaign that some players, including Reid — the first player to kneel with Kaepernick — have criticized as disingenuous.