Rather than holding a practice on Thursday, the Washington Football Team opted to hold a team-wide conversation about the social injustice and police brutality in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake.
The move echoed that of other players and teams across the sports landscape, as games in the NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA and MLS have been postponed in order to put a greater focus on the issues in the country. Head coach Ron Rivera -- who headed the decision with team president Jason Wright -- detailed how the conversation went during a press conference on Thursday.
An intense yet progressive time, the team shared photos from the open dialogue.
During his retelling of the meeting, Rivera noted that it was an opportunity for numerous members of the team to speak up about their feelings and personal experiences. Though numerous different emotions, including anger and frustration, were expressed, Rivera saw the conversation as a success.
"We had a conversation with our players," Rivera said. "We created an opportunity for them to have a forum and a discussion as to what's been going on in our world today. What it's like and how they're feeling. We wanted to listen to them and hear them and give them an opportunity to have a voice."
"I thought the meeting went very well. I thought the players were very candid, very open about their feelings and expressed them," Rivera said.
Looking at the photos, one can see Rivera's descriptions come to life. The expression on the head coach's face is one of seriousness. The same can be said for veterans Adrian Peterson and Thomas Davis. The focus in their eyes, as well as those listening around them, demonstrated just how involved every member of the team was in the dialogue.
No picture may be more powerful than the one of offensive lineman Brandon Scherff. A leader of the team, Scherff can be seen taking notes as he listens to others share their thoughts and feelings. The point of the conversation was for everyone to get a better understanding of what others have gone through, and Scherff is doing just that.
Rivera stated in his press conference that the team and staff were "challenged to come up with a cause, come up with something that we can do," to help invoke change in the community. He believed his team was up to the task, and the pictures here support that.