Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie described himself as “heartbroken and repulsed” by injustice suffered by African-Americans, in a statement issued by the team on Tuesday afternoon.
“There are no words strong enough to describe the horrific deaths and injustices that the black community continues to endure,” Lurie said. He noted the world’s fight this year against the COVID-19 virus, and added: “Here in our country, we have been battling a relentless social pandemic for our entire history.”
A source confirmed that on Monday, Lurie and Eagles coach Doug Pederson spoke during a virtual team meeting that was devoted to racial issues, in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Center Jason Kelce said on Instagram that teammate DeSean Jackson’s testimony during the meeting compelled him to speak up in public. Kelce quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s statement that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Lurie, meanwhile, said that “systemic racism, discrimination, oppression and violence against 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.”
Lurie said being able to relate to the struggles of people unlike ourselves “is what makes us fully human.”
He indicated that the Eagles will seek ways to help.
“We must all continue to have these discussions and turn them into concrete action in order to foster lasting social change,” Lurie said. “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 that we must achieve.”
Eagles safety Rodney McLeod used Instagram to make his statement, which read in part: “The ugly reminders of injustice and systemic racism will continue to haunt us as a country until we enact change. Peaceful protest, lifting our voices in solidarity, and civil-engagement are all a part of the change process. Defacing our communities only offers a shortcut to the progress we all want to see. I believe we as a city can rise out of this pivotal moment stronger, we have an opportunity to course-correct for our future’s sake, and together, each of us can reflect the attitude necessary to be better and do better.”