The Packers put out a strong video message after the June killing of George Floyd under the knee of police, and now they’re deciding how to respond to a similar incident in their own state.
According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, the Packers held a meeting to discuss what they could do in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police offer, and the reaction to the video footage of the incident has led to another round of protests.
Coach Matt LaFleur met with the team’s leadership council, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers said veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis helped lead the discussion.
“I think there’s a lot of personal things that were said in those settings,” Rodgers said. “I think like I said in the video and like we talked about in the video that we put out, there’s a systemic problem, and until the problem is fixed, this is going to be an all-too-common sighting in this country.
“It obviously hits home being not far from Green Bay. I’m not going to comment directly on the video until more facts come out, but obviously it’s something where as a non-police officer, I think [for] a lot of us [the] natural question is, when is lethal force necessary? Again, I think that goes to a systematic problem that needs to be addressed at some point. There’s antiquated laws that are prejudicial against people of color in this state. I think the governor and the folks at the Capitol need to take a hard look at some of those systems that are in place.”
LaFleur said the emotional impact of the shooting was clear after talking to the team.
“It’s amazing to me that this is still happening, so [we] wanted to get our guys’ perspective and try to float around some ideas on how we can make a difference and use our platform, because things have to change,” LaFleur said. “The social injustice, the police brutality, the antiquated laws, [we] just got to bring awareness to everybody that Black lives matter. We can’t stand for this any longer. . . .
“When you watch something like that, it’s just so disgusting. It’s disturbing. I watched it once, and I just don’t even know what to think. I know I don’t know all the facts around the case, but it’s just a series. It keeps happening over, and over, and over again, and it blows my mind that we’re sitting here in 2020, and we can’t treat everybody the same. I don’t know, I’m just kind of at a loss for words.”
Rodgers said it was still unclear what the team’s next steps would be, but he felt like his responsibility was to listen first. When the time comes for the team to speak, having his voice will also add power to any message, as Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has shown.