Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are known for slogans like "No Days Off," but the team recently has shifted its focus from football to far more important matters.
The murder of George Floyd and the ensuing "Black Lives Matter" protests that have taken place across the United States rightfully have made sports an afterthought.
So as part of the Patriots' virtual offseason workout program, Belichick and the players put football on the backburner to openly dicuss these recent events. According to NFL Network's Mike Giardi, a player said of Belichick, “We couldn’t do this without his leadership."
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On the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's "Next Pats Podcast," Patriots veteran Matthew Slater commended Belichick for his role in the discussions and his ability to listen closely to what his players have to say.
"I think coach has a good, healthy understanding of the gravity of the situation and the times that we're living in," Slater said. "I think he's done a good job of trying to listen, trying to learn and hear from his players and try to navigate this as best as he can.
"Look, I understand what his job is. His job is to coach the football team and get the football team ready to be successful, and nothing's going to take his focus away from that. But I do think that it's important, as he has done, to hear from his players and understand that, 'Hey, at the end of the day, football is temporary.' What we're left with is who we are as people, the values and beliefs and our experiences, and the results of those experiences. That's what we're going to be left with.
"So I'm sure that he'll continue to be open and receptive to us having dialogue. I'm thankful for what he has done thus far as far as that process is concerned, and we'll just see how it goes as we press forward."
Hopefully, these conversations will continue to be held by teams across the league as the issue of racial injustice in the United States is brought to the forefront.