Some NFL players and teams have taken action against social injustice and police brutality this week by boycotting practices and speaking out.
MLB, MLS, the NBA, the WNBA and the NHL had games postponed or protested this week in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting. The NFL season doesn’t start until Sep. 10, but one report suggests that the players could be the next to protest games.
“NFL owners should be careful. A few prominent Black players are telling me they want to sit out a game to make their feelings felt & force change/action,” NFL Media reporter Jim Trotter said. “They are tired, frustrated and emotional. It’s only a few at this point, but sparks become flames & flames become infernos.”
The NFL season is still two weeks away, but there is a belief that a protest could happen if changes aren’t made. Russell Wilson, one of the NFL’s biggest stars, said that the Seahawks wouldn’t have played if they had a game this week.
“I think for us as a team, for the Seahawks, we’re definitely discussing what do we do next,” Wilson said on 710 ESPN Seattle. “How do we make a change? How do we cause movement, and how do we make a difference? We’re in the midst of all that right now. We don’t have weeks, and we don’t have months. We don’t have years to change it.”
Wilson is not alone. Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley are two of the New York Giants’ biggest stars, and they didn’t shut down the idea of a game protest.
“I can’t really just go and speak on behalf of the whole league, but, for us, that is something that we’re going to talk about within our [social justice] groups, within our team,” Barkley said. “What’s talked about in players meetings stays in players meetings.”
Packers offensive tackle Billy Turner took a different route. He is adamant about creating change, but he doesn’t want to protest NFL games.
“Sure, we can do that; that’s easy,” Turner said. “What change is that going to bring initially and right away? Football fans across the country and the world pissed off because they can’t watch football. What is that negativity going to bring to the world because we’re not out there playing this game? I don’t know that that necessarily creates change initially.”
Like the NBA players, NFL athletes aren’t on one accord yet regarding a potential protest. A lot of what happens in the NFL will depend on the next two weeks. A resolution will likely depend on the players and owners coming to an agreement, and that hasn’t always been a sure thing in the NFL.
SEC football schools have joined in on the protest. Kentucky, Mississippi State, LSU and Ole Miss were among the schools taking action.
LSU and Ole Miss led protests on Friday. The Rebels walked out of practice before protesting.