BOSTON (CBS) — Gillette Stadium is closed Friday, as the Patriots commemorate Juneteenth. The team is encouraging employees to use the day for education and appreciation.

June 19, 1865 was the day slaves in Texas were freed on federal orders — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had ordered them free. The Patriots released the following statement about Juneteenth:

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We often say ‘We are all Patriots’ and with a team name like Patriots, it’s important we represent all patriots. Black history IS American history. Our football team is predominantly comprised of Black men, who are people before they are players, and black lives must matter on and off the football field. We cannot simply ‘stick to football’ without acknowledging race and celebrating Juneteenth, the national commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. Despite common misconception, slavery did not end nationwide with the Emancipation Proclamation. On June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s order, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas with the news the war was over and slaves were free. The celebrations that followed led to Juneteenth, a commemoration of African American freedom and achievement. Today is Juneteenth, a day for education and appreciation.

https://twitter.com/Patriots/status/1273983692042653698

Patriots employees were told earlier this week that Friday would be a paid company holiday, according to Pro Football Talk.

All teams across the NFL are celebrating the day, with the league offices in New York also closed for business.

The New England Revolution were also given the day off on Friday in observance of Juneteenth:

The Boston Celtics invited fans to “reflect and educate” themselves on Friday.