The Detroit Lions did not hold practice on Tuesday, as the team opted to use their platform to demand social justice and bring attention to police brutality in the country following the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday.
Blake, 29, was shot seven times by a Kenosha Police Department officer in Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon as he tried to enter his car. Further details on the incident have yet to be released, but the department has announced that it is launching a full investigation. It has been reported that Blake is paralyzed from the waist down.
The Lions stood outside the practice facility on Tuesday and addressed the media, voicing that the problems in the country were much bigger than football. Signs that read phrases such as "The world can't go on" and "We won't be silent" were displayed.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford told the media during a press conference on Tuesday that the team met during the morning, and no football-related conversations were had.
“Football was the last thing on our mind at the moment," Stafford said.
In recent months, NFL players and others have become more vocal when it comes to speaking on social justice issues. Following the death of George Floyd in May, players across all sports have made it clear that they want to see real change happen in society through marches, statements and other acts of peaceful protest.
The NFL itself has loosened its policies in order to allow players to use their platform to bring attention to the issues. Kneeling for the national anthem had long been a point of contention, but commissioner Roger Goodell has recently stated that he will support the player's decision to kneel. Goodell had released a statement in June condemning racism after some of the sport's biggest names asked for more support from the league.