9 NFL teams cancel practice in response to Blake shooting

Empty practice fields made for loud and powerful statements at nine facilities across the NFL.

Posted: Aug 28, 2020 9:08 AM

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Empty practice fields made for loud and powerful statements at nine facilities across the NFL.

The Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans and Washington Football Team all chose to not practice Thursday in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin.

“We’ve been protecting the shield,” Jets running back Le’Veon Bell wrote of the NFL in a Twitter post. “It’s time for the shield to protect us.”

Blake, 29, was shot by police, apparently in the back, on Sunday in Kenosha 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. three months after the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer touched off a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice.

“I do see more urgency to move the needle,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “I see more going on. It doesn’t happen overnight. Overall, I feel good about the movement. What happened in Wisconsin is ridiculous. If anything, we are going to double down and do more.”

The Baltimore Ravens, one of 19 teams that did practice, issued a strong and detailed statement that included seven steps society can take to take positive action. They included arresting and charging police officers responsible for shooting Blake and killing Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.

“With yet another example of racial discrimination with the shooting of Jacob Blake, and the unlawful abuse of peaceful protesters, we MUST unify as a society,” the statement said. “It is imperative that all people — regardless of race, religion, creed or belief — come together to say, ‘Enough is enough!’”

Broncos running back Melvin Gordon grew up in Kenosha, and he and other players, coaches and staff posed for a team photo that was posted along with a statement on Twitter.

“This hits home for all of us,” part of the statement read. “In the strongest terms, we condemn police brutality, excessive force and these senseless acts of violence that have caused so much pain. It is time for accountability and real policy reform.”

The Detroit Lions canceled their practice Tuesday, protesting the incident involving Blake, and racial injustice. They were back on the field Thursday, but the impact of their actions was clear across the rest of the league.

“I think that if there’s any chance that we got everybody to maybe stop and think for a minute, that’s really great,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said Thursday during a video call.

The Titans came up with three concrete things they plan to do after canceling their practice: make sure everyone’s registered to vote; focus on talking points for meeting with elected officials; and hold a Zoom call to connect with thousands of students around Middle Tennessee designed to help teach the same equality and acceptance the players experience at work.

“I take great satisfaction when players tell me that they feel safe here,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “They feel comfortable saying whatever they want, whatever emotion that they have. But they don’t when they’re away from here. And so I want to try to fix that away from here.”

The New Orleans Saints were also among the teams that held practice, but the players wore Blake’s name on the front or crown of their helmets where they usually have their own names during camp.

“It’s just something we decided to do last night to honor him,” coach Sean Payton said. “It was something we felt would be appropriate, and I think they (the players) were for it.”

On Wednesday night, the Washington Football Team announced it would not hold its practice at its home stadium on Thursday afternoon. It was supposed to be broadcast live on local radio and televised at night. Washington, which recently dropped its longtime name of Redskins, last week hired Jason Wright as the first Black team president in NFL history.

The Chargers were scheduled to have a scrimmage to break in their new SoFi Stadium, but canceled.

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said players and coaches met for over two hours Thursday morning before voting — 37 to 36 in favor — to practice as scheduled. But the team canceled its afternoon meetings and had another group discussion about what they can and will do moving forward to foster change.

Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley called on the “faces of the league” — the quarterbacks — to take an even greater role in trying to affect change.

“If a statement is going to be made by this league in solidarity and everyone standing up, it’s got to start with them," he said. "If we’re going to put pressure on the people in the country who make change, for accountability, it’s got to start with them.”

The Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers also had practice or walkthrough sessions.

“I think the biggest thing right now is to ... listen to my African-American teammates and friends that aren’t even in football,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, "just to get a better understanding to educate myself.”

Following morning meetings and a walkthrough, Cleveland’s players met as a group for nearly an hour and decided to cut their practice in half — one hour on the field, the other inside discussing ways to make impactful change.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said the team hopes the brainstorming session will create ways to “move things forward.” Garrett began his Zoom call with reporters by calling for the police who shot Blake and killed Taylor to be held accountable.

Browns first-year coach Kevin Stefanski applauded the actions of his players and said he was proud of the organization’s new alliance with the Cleveland Indians and Cavaliers.

“We want to be pillars in the community,” said Stefanski, whose father, Ed, is an executive with the NBA's Detroit Pistons. “I don’t know what the right answer is, but we want to be about action.”

The Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks all had previously scheduled off days from practice Thursday.

The protests weren't limited to the NFL. After the Milwaukee Bucks opted not to play in their playoff game Wednesday, two other games were postponed later in the day and a second night of games was also wiped out Thursday. The WNBA also canceled games for the second straight day.

The NHL postponed two days of playoff games.

Three Major League Baseball games were postponed Wednesday night, and seven more weren't played Thursday night.

Players and teams from MLS and the tennis tours also sat out competitions.

San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert didn't rule out NFL players also considering sitting out games when the regular season begins.

“I’m not promising anything, but there could be a plan as far as just standing up and doing what’s right,” Mostert said. “Because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Human life is is the most important thing."

___

AP Pro Football Writers Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Mark Long, Arnie Stapleton, Barry Wilner and Teresa M, Walker, and Sports Writers Tim Booth, Tom Canavan, Dave Ginsburg, Will Graves, Larry Lage, Mike Marot, Brett Martel, Steve Megargee, Charles Odom, Joe Reedy, Stephen Whyno and Tom Withers contributed.

——

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

West Lafayette
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 44°
Kokomo
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 41°
Rensselaer
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 40°
Crawfordsville
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 37°
Frankfort
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Delphi
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Monticello
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Logansport
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
Remaining Dry and Trending Warmer for the Upcoming Work Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events