BOSTON (CBS) — Over the past several weeks, as the nation has reacted to the death of George Floyd, there has been an overwhelming surge of support for social justice and racial equality from all corners of the country. And like many corporations, the NFL was one such entity, with commissioner Roger Goodell stating “we condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people” and “We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”
Most teams and countless players also spoke up during that flood of support, yet Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was not among them. Given his background as a friend of President Donald Trump, for whom he wrote a public letter of support during the 2016 election (and 2016 football season), some in the media stated that Belichick must make a similar public statement for support of issues so important to his players. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio went so far to say, “In this climate, silence sends a message perhaps even more powerful than speaking up.”
Belichick has yet to make any public statements, but he has been spending his time talking with his players and listening to them when it comes to causes of social justice in America. He also invited Rahsaan Hall, the director of the racial justice program at the Massachusetts ACLU, to join the team’s video conference to speak with the team.
Belichick also appeared during a presentation on Tuesday night, as longtime team captain Devin McCourty was honored as the Boston Uncornered Champion of the Year for his work with the organization that helps “redirect the entrepreneurial, networking and leadership skills of gang involved youth from violence and incarceration to obtain a college credential and family-sustaining wage — driving positive change in our neighborhoods.”
Belichick said he is looking to increase his role in social change, following the lead of McCourty.
“You are a great example of the impact that someone can have with great wisdom, leadership, courage, and passion,” Belichick said to McCourty. “Conversations across our country and within our team will help lead to paving the way for a better future. Following your lead and the example of other incredible men on our team, I look forward to increasing my role in this process. Healthy discussion leads to actions, and actions that you have brought to the forefront have resulted in progress.”
“Healthy discussions lead to actions, and actions that you have brought to the forefront have resulted in progress.”
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 10, 2020
Belichick continued his praise of McCourty, saying, “On behalf of the entire team, we want to express our gratitude for everything you represent as a teammate and as a person.”