Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie penned a longer-than-most statement on Tuesday calling for action from the public against racial injustice, and pledging resources to "foster lasting social change" in the near future.
Statement from Jeffrey Lurie, Chairman/CEO pic.twitter.com/Qwp7RZ9ofT
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) June 2, 2020
The letter in totality reads:
I have spent a great deal of time over the last few days reflecting. Listening to my own heart, listening to others. At times, I have too many words. At times, I have no words. But silence is not an option.
I am heartbroken and repulsed. There are no words strong enough to describe the horrific deaths and injustices that the black community continues to endure.
We as a human race are valiantly struggling in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in our country, we have been battling a relentless social pandemic for our entire history.
Systemic racism, discrimination, violence and oppression of minorities - it has been our past and it is our present. It remains who we are. We need to be honest with ourselves and own that.
We are all part of the solution. It starts with us. We need to look inward and open our hearts. We need to ask ourselves and others, what can we do to help?
Our hearts give us the capacity to have compassion, empathy, humility, tolerance, love and caring for others who may look or sound different from us. That's what makes is fully human: the capacity to listen. Support one another. And then listen some more.
Many of us, myself included, cannot truly understand the burden of a weight we have never had to carry through life. We must at least try, as best we can, to imagine ourselves as the person who is hurting, neglected and oppressed.
It is our shared responsibility to address the pain and combat systemic racism. There is so much we can all do to improve our unequal system of justice, our schools and our communities. This is a time for leadership. A time for us to be united in action.
I am both encouraged and inspired listening to our players and so many others who are dedicated to coming together as people who embrace our shared humanity. We must all continue to have these discussions and turn them into concrete action in order to help foster lasting social change. In the coming days, weeks, months and years, I am dedicated to engaging in dialogue with community leaders, committing our resources to support organizations working on reform, and using our platform to play an active role in the change we must achieve.
By working together, the power resides in all of us to choose less hate and more love, with open hearts every day of our lives.
Lurie's stance is important as a prominent white businessman in a predominantly black NFL (roughly 70 percent of the league is comprised of black players), and its powerful message separated from most others issued by other NFL teams in the wake of George Floyd's death. It's important to note that Lurie didn't just voice support, but also that he's planning to spearhead action to create lasting change for social issues.
Before releasing the statement, Lurie and head coach Doug Pederson had a virtual discussion on race with the team's players, per Tim McManus.
Eagles’ Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie opened a “powerful” team discussion on race relations Monday. pic.twitter.com/RrFvV6qPwQ
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) June 2, 2020
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, wideout DeSean Jackson and defensive lineman Malik Jackson were three of the players to speak during the session, per reports. Wentz had previously taken to social media to condemn racial injustices.
The NFL released a statement supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, but was quickly ridiculed by the public, citing the NFL's treatment of Colin Kaepernick and the former San Francisco quarterback's peaceful protest of police brutality and racial injustices in 2016. Jed York was also the target of criticism, as the owner of the team.
The statements come after the high-profile deaths of three Black Americans — Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery — in recent weeks, and the protests and riots that followed.