In the immediate aftermath of the Milwaukee Bucks refusing to take the floor during Game 5 of their NBA playoffs series in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the Baltimore Ravens canceled practice on Friday and issued a statement demanding police reform and addressing systemic oppression in America.
“This is bigger than sports,” the statement said. “Racism is embedded in the fabric of our nation’s foundation and is a blemish on our country’s history. If we are to change course and make our world a better place, we must face this problem head-on and act now to enact positive change. It is time to accept accountability and acknowledge the ramifications of slavery and racial injustice.”
Looking to keep that same energy, NBC Sports reports that the Ravens signed a letter on Monday urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the Senate floor.
“We can no longer tolerate a system that has too often failed to serve, protect and value the lives of Black Americans,” the team says in a video reading the letter aloud.
The letter is signed by team President Richard Cass and familiar names such as Mark Ingram, Calais Campbell, Justin Tucker and Robert Griffin III.
According to the Congressional Black Caucus, this police reform bill will ban no-knock warrants and chokeholds, work towards eliminating racial profiling and bias, make lynching a federal crime, limit the use of military weaponry and equipment and address other issues of concern regarding police interactions with communities of color. The bill prides itself on being the “first-ever bold, comprehensive approach” to addressing systemic racism and bias within law enforcement.
The bill passed the House in late June.
As great as it is to see professional athletes become much more politically engaged in recent months, team owners must follow suit and use their vast wealth and resources to serve as catalysts for change as well.