The Bears — and their former players — continued to distance themselves Friday from Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher’s social-media posts. In the Instagram posts, he demeaned NBA players protesting Jacob Blake’s shooting and liked an image calling for the release of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Antioch resident accused of killing two in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday night.
The most powerful reaction came from former Bears running back Matt Forte, who, in a series of tweets totaling more than 400 words, said he was praying for Urlacher.
“To be a public success and a private failure is no life to live,” Forte wrote. “I still have love and respect for [Urlacher], as well as all people, and we can lovingly disagree — but not when it comes to the oppression of people and racism.
“It’s evident that you can spend the majority of your life with and around black [people] and still not understand the struggle. Even while playing on the same field and being in the same locker room. Because true understanding doesn’t come from reading a book about it, watching a documentary or an episode of ‘Black-ish.’
“It comes from the actual experience of racism and injustice, or self-honesty in saying, ‘You know what, I’ll probably never understand but I’m willing to listen and humbly, with compassion, put my feet in the oppressed shoes and walk through it with them as I try to understand the inequality and mistreatments of black and brown people since the first slaves touched U.S. soil.’ ”
The Bears said in a statement late Thursday that the posts “in no way reflect the values or opinions” of the franchise. On Friday, former teammate Charles Tillman tweeted that he had a private conversation with Urlacher. Former Bears wide receiver Rashied Davis told the “Dan Bernstein Show” on The Score that he reached out to Urlacher on Thursday, and they agreed to talk soon.
“I don’t want to sit here and beat up Brian because I still care about him,” he said. “But I do feel betrayed by all of that.”
On Thursday, Urlacher wrote on Instagram that Packers quarterback Brett Favre “played in the face of adversity” after his father died, but “NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on [a] felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.” Urlacher’s account also “liked” a photo of Rittenhouse that said “patriot lives matter” and advocated for his release.