Tom Brady, Drew Brees, More Sign Letter in Support of Ending Police Immunity

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2020

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, talks with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees after the Patriots beat the Saints 30-27 in an NFL football game Sunday, Oct.13, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

The Players Coalition sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday with over 1,400 signatures from athletes, coaches and executives supporting the end to qualified immunity for police officers.

Here's a portion of the letter signed by high-profile figures from the NFL, NBA and MLB (via ESPN's Michael Rothstein):

"It is time for Congress to eliminate qualified immunity, and it can do so by passing the Amash-Pressley bill. When police officers kill an unarmed man, when they beat a woman, or when they shoot a child, the people of this country must have a way to hold them accountable in a court of law. And officers must know that if they act in such a manner, there will be repercussions. A legal system that does not provide such a recourse is an illegitimate one. In their grief, people have taken to the streets because for too long, their government has failed to protect them. The Courts and elected officials alike have instead shielded people who caused unspeakable harm. Congress must not be complicit in these injustices, and it should take this important step to show that law enforcement abuse will not be tolerated."

U.S. House of Representatives members Justin Amash of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts introduced the bill Thursday amid worldwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality after George Floyd was killed May 25 while in Minneapolis Police custody.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman are among those who signed the letter.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who drew sharp criticism for his initial reaction to the possibility of NFL players protesting during the national anthem in the wake of the protests, also signed the petition after pledging to become "part of the solution."

The Players Coalition was founded in 2017 by NFL players Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins with the goal of ending "social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have opportunity to thrive without barriers."

The House of Representatives isn't scheduled to return until June 30 amid the coronavirus pandemic, but majority leader Steny Hoyer said it's possible they could be recalled early to vote on reform bills, which also includes legislation from the Congressional Black Caucus called the Justice in Policing Act, per CNN.

Qualified immunity was first established in 1967, but it has come under scrutiny for its more recent widespread usage to protect police from lawsuits.