The Ravens are looking to be a catalyst for change, and they took a step Monday that few other professional sports teams have taken amid nationwide unrest over racial justice in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks announced they would be boycotting their first-round playoff game against the Orlando Magic to protest racial discrimination against the Black community in America. The decision was spurred by the Aug. 23 shooting of 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin; it was the latest in a string of police-involved shootings this summer that reignited the Black Lives Matter movement and prompted nationwide protests.
In the days following the Bucks’ decision not to play, both the NBA and NHL put their playoffs on hold while teams across the MLB and WNBA declined to compete as well. Several NFL teams canceled or limited practice, including the Ravens. Players and staff came together to craft a comprehensive statement that called for the arrests of the police officers involved in the shootings of Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake and support a higher standard of care in policing, among other requests.
One of those calls to action was urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the floor for a vote. The Ravens went a step further Monday by signing a formal letter to the Republican Senator of Kentucky.
Ravens players Mark Ingram II, Ronnie Stanley, Marlon Humphrey, Orlando Brown Jr., Marquise Brown, Calais Campbell, Robert Griffin III, Sam Koch, Patrick Queen, Miles Boykin, Matthew Judon, Tavon Young, Willie Snead IV, Anthony Levine Sr., Ben Powers, Chuck Clark, Jaylon Ferguson and Justin Tucker were all shown as signees of the letter. Team president Richard Cass’s name was shown as well.
The Justice in Policing Act seeks to enact a series of police reforms that include, according to a fact sheet compiled by the Congressional Black Caucus, steps to end racial and religious profiling, banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants, limiting military equipment on streets, holding police more accountable in court, requiring approved training programs and making lynching a federal crime.