The NFL’s Detroit Lions cancelled practice and held a protest Tuesday in response to the police-related shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. 

The Detroit Free Press reported that instead of holding practice, the Lions team assembled in front of their headquarters with head coach Matt Patricia to speak with the media.

The explanation for cancelling practice was simple: “Football is not important today,” Safety Duron Harmon said. “God put us here not only to play football but to create change.”

Detriot Lions Cancel Practice To Protest Jacob Blake Shooting

Quarterback Matthew Stafford said that this is the day that he has been most proud to be a member of the Lions team.

“We had our team meeting this morning and no football was talked about,” Stafford said. “Coach just opened the floor. The conversations lasted four hours and it was incredible to be a part of it.”

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Blake was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday night, and it has since been reported that he was left paralyzed from the waist down in the shooting.

Police have given few details so far about the shooting, which have already led to more racial protests across the country.

Some of the players made handmade signs for the occasion.

Detroit Lions’ Coach Speaks Out

“I didn’t really feel right about going into practice and running some football drill without talking to my team,” said head coach Matt Patricia. 

The Lions’ practice had initially been scheduled for 10:30 this morning. But it was pushed back to 1:15pm for the meeting. The team eventually made the decision to just cancel the practice altogether, and to speak to the media instead. 

Defensive end Trey Flowers said that while he knows that many will see what the Lions are doing as a political move, his team is determined to make change happen.

“We are all brothers, the human race,” Flowers said. “We are all one, and once we realize that and overcome just the difference of skin color, the difference of culture, then we’ll start to love one another, treat others as they are us.”

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Green Bay Packers Address Jacob Blake Shooting

The Detroit Lions were not the only – or the first – NFL team to take action in response to the Kenosha shooting that made national headlines. The event also made ripples in nearby Green Bay, Wisconsin.

While the Green Bay Packers did protest, they did hold a team meeting about Jacob Blake’s shooting on Monday afternoon. The team also released the following statement:

“The Packers organization was shocked to see the video that showed police shooting Jacob Blake multiple times in the back. We are hopeful Jacob makes a full recovery, and our thoughts are with his family.

“While we understand a full investigation of this terrible incident will take place, we are deeply troubled at what again has become a painful example of the significant challenges we face with respect to police brutality, systemic racism and injustices against Black people. We continue to call for meaningful dialogue to affect the needed change we all desire.”

Racial tensions have been at an all-time high in the months since the death of George Floyd. Anti-police sentiments have also escalated to the point where many Americans assume the worst about cops whenever an officer-involved shooting takes place.

It’s important to wait for all the facts to come out before rushing to judgement. 

America doesn’t yet know the full set of events in Kenosha that day. But many, like the Detroit Lions, have already tried and convicted the police officers involved.

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