The Baltimore Ravens are taking a stand against racial injustice.
The NFL team issued a statement on Thursday, four days after Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a police officer. The shooting prompted protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where two people were killed and a third was injured on Tuesday night when a gunman opened fire on demonstrators.
“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 team wrote. “It is imperative that all people — regardless of race, religion, creed or belief — come together to say, 'Enough is enough!'"
“This is bigger than sports. 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,” the statement continued.
While acknowledging that “we cannot right all the wrongs of our country's history,” the team listed a number of actions that can be taken, including arresting and charging the officers “responsible for Breonna Taylor's killing and the shooting of Jacob Blake.”
“We will use our platform to drive change now — not just for our generation, but for the generations that follow, for our sons and daughters and for their children,” they added.
A number of players went on to reiterate their support for the team’s willingness to stand up for racial justice.
“Proud to be a Raven," wrote running back Mark Ingram II, while defensive end Calais Campbell added, “We want real change! And we want it now!”
This week, athletes and teams from several sports have joined together to protest Blake’s shooting.
A series of NBA playoff games have been postponed this week, after the Milwaukee Bucks staged a walk-out on Wednesday and didn't take the court.
The WNBA also postponed Wednesday's games, and players from the Mystics, Dream, Lynx, Sun, Mercury and Sparks kneeled on the court wearing shirts that spelled out Jacob Blake's name on the front, and seven holes on the back, representing the number of times Blake was shot by police.
Some players and teams from the MLB and MLS also chose to sit out of their scheduled games. The following day, a number of NFL teams, including the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers and Washington Football Team, opted out of holding practices.
"In the wake of what has taken place in our backyard of Kenosha over the last couple of days, we as a team have a lot on our mind today," the Chicago Bears said in a statement explaining their decision to cancel practice. "We decided to pause our football activities to voice to each other, our coaches and our staff where we stand on the real issues around race and police brutality in our country.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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