Browns GM Challenged Team to Be Socially Active After Killing of George Floyd

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2020

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry called on members of the organization to be socially active in an email this month amid nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality. 

Kimberly A. Martin of ESPN reported Berry, who is one of the two black general managers in the NFL, sent a memo to team employees encouraging them to do the following:

  • "Spend at least 8 minutes and 46 seconds (the initially reported amount of time a Minneapolis police officer had his knee on George Floyd's neck) on one of the educational tools (such as movies, documentaries, podcasts) listed at the bottom of the email, and submit a short written or video reflection on what they learned or will do moving forward.

  • Sign up for a social activism initiative.

  • Donate to a social activism cause."

Berry said he got more than 50 people to respond within the first day of the email. His initiative has helped raise $185,522.74 for 14 charities as of this week.

"I want to see tangible, meaningful action around this cause because I think it's the right thing to do," Berry said. "The thing that struck me is, we've had a number of these types of incidents over our history, and certainly within recent history.

"And I think the emotion, the passion, the things that people are feeling now—at some point, the emotion is going to wane some. At least nationally. And the important part is being able to channel that energy into something that's productive and actionable so that all of these tragedies don't happen in vain."

George Floyd's killing while in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day set off worldwide protests against police brutality and racial discrimination. Officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest despite Floyd saying he couldn't breathe.

Three other officers involved in the arrest were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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On the day of Floyd's funeral, Berry and the Browns front office visited the park where Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black child, was killed by Cleveland police in November 2014. Rice was playing with snowballs and a toy gun when he was shot and killed.

Berry said these social justice issues need to be a focus because they are "bigger than football."

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