The Lions have canceled practice Tuesday to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Practice was moved back twice before the cancellation where players instead addressed the media about their frustration with incidents involving Black people.
According to ESPN, three Lions players addressed reporters in front of the facility on Tuesday. Safety Duron Harmon, defensive end Trey Flowers and offensive tackle Taylor Decker explained their decision and felt how when they entered the building Tuesday, they felt football wasn’t as important as speaking out and sending a message that what happened to Blake and many others in this country needs to stop.
“As a team, we looked each other in the eyes and realized that football isn’t important today,” Harmon said. “We have a platform that we are able to use not just to raise awareness but to create change.”
Quarterback Matthew Stafford also said there has never been a day he was more proud to be a Lion and a quarterback in the NFL than Tuesday.
“We had our team meeting this morning and no football was talked about,” Stafford said Tuesday. “Coach (Matt Patricia) just opened the floor. The conversations lasted four hours and it was incredible to be a part of it.” Coach Patricia said that there were some “amazing, amazing conversations” that came from the meeting.
The Jacob Blake story is growing in popularity after the story broke on Sunday. Blake, a black man, was shot by police on Sunday as he tried to enter the driver’s side door of his vehicle. Officers were responding to a domestic disturbance.
On Tuesday, Blake’s father told ABC News that he was told his son was shot eight times and is paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors do not know whether the paralysis will be permanent. The family is using the same attorney as the family of George Floyd, Ben Crump.
Harmon said the Lions will do everything they can to win football games. On top of that, they also plan to do “everything we can to bring change as well.” The Lions are standing by these two phrases: “The World Can’t Go On” and “We Won’t Be Silent.”