The Detroit Lions canceled practice Tuesday in protest of a police officer shooting Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc., and two former New England Patriots players apparently played a key role in that decision.
Lions defensive end Trey Flowers and safety Duron Harmon joined offensive tackle Taylor Decker to address the media Tuesday outside Detroit's practice facility and explain why they called off practice.
"As a team, we looked each other in the eyes and realized that football isn't important today," Harmon told reporters, via ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein. "We have a platform that we are able to use not just to raise awareness but to create change."
Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot multiple times by police Sunday as he tried to enter his car and was left paralyzed from the waist down, according to his father. The shooting was captured on video and reignited protests in several cities over continued police violence against Black Americans.
Lions players stood outside the team's facility surrounding a whiteboard that read "The World Can't Go On" and "We Can't Be Silent." Flowers echoed those messages to reporters.
"We can't be silent," Flowers said. "We can't say silent. We cannot be going on in the world with our regular day. So today, unified we stand here and we came up with these words, these slogans, and we spread the message, spread the word."
Harmon has only been in Detroit since March when the Patriots traded him there, but he and Flowers -- who spent four seasons in New England before signing with the Lions in 2018 -- view Blake's shooting as another reminder that their team must use their platform to call for justice.
"The Detroit Lions will be the change. We won't be silent," Harmon said. "We will not become numb to police brutality and social injustice."