We need to ‘walk with strength and pride’: Andy Reid, several NFL players discuss racial injustice

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. –In the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, several sports teams across the nation have refused to play and have canceled practice.

On Wednesday, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid took a break from talking about Training Camp and gave his thoughts on the recent boycotting.

“We all need to join hands here and make this world a better place, where we can go into each other’s neighborhoods and be comfortable, and we appreciate life and how important it is,” said Reid. “It’s a precious thing man, its complicated and it is precious.”

Reid’s comments came on the same day the Detroit Lions addressed racial injustice. The team canceled practice on Tuesday and used a dry-erase board to address the media with the words: “The world can’t go on” and “We won’t be silent!! One pride.”

The rest of the NFL saw what the Lions did, and have come together with their own discussions about social issues and how they might be able to affect change.

Eagles coach and former Chiefs coordinator Doug Pederson thought what the Lions did was “a great sign of unity, a sign of strength and support as a team.” He said his players and staff will continue these conversations moving forward.

And it doesn’t stop there, several players from several teams have come forward in the past few days sharing their concerns and frustration.

“Me personally, I’m hurt by the whole situation,” said Bradley McDougald, New York Jets safety. “I’m an African-American man and that easily could’ve been me. As soon as I walk out of 1 Jets Drive, I’m just another black man — and I don’t know how the cops are going to see me.”

Blake, 29, was shot, apparently in the back, on Sunday as he leaned into his SUV, three of his children seated inside. The shooting was captured on cellphone video and ignited new protests in the U.S.

“I just don’t understand how somebody could – somebody who is unarmed, family in the car — how he could be a threat,” said Kavon Frazier, Miami Florida Dolphins safety. “I just don’t understand. We’re lost. We’re scared. I’m scared. I drive a pretty nice car and I’m scared if I get pulled over, that could happen to me.”

“I’m not bashing them. I’m commending them,” McDougald said of the Lions. “That was great that they did that. But just like every other peaceful protest or every other movement we started, hashtag we started, it still comes back to nothing’s getting settled. Nothing real is getting done.”

That’s the frustration McDougald and so many other Black men and women grapple with on a daily basis. And have for too long.

“Needless to say, what’s going on in this country of ours at times is extremely disgusting,” said Cam Newton, Patriots quarterback. “And until we find a fix, I think more than ever, we have to unify and become one as much as possible.”

“At this time, everyone needs to come together and join hands, like I said, and love each other for what we are, and the privilege that we have in this short period of time that we’re on Earth,” said Reid.

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