The NFL and NFL Players Association released a joint statement Thursday amid ongoing calls and protests for social justice in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin last Sunday.
The statement comes after numerous NFL teams, led by the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, canceled team activities in the run-up to the regular season, which is scheduled to begin Thursday, Sept. 10.
Of note, nine teams decided against practicing or scrimmaging Thursday, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Representatives from some of those teams offered further explanations for their decisions, including Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera.
Some teams opted to still hold practices but have held extensive off-field discussions and plan further action, including the New York Giants, who have split the players into groups to address social justice issues, per defensive tackle Leonard Williams:
Other professional sports teams from various leagues have paused their seasons in protest, including the NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB. The Milwaukee Bucks' refusal to take the court for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday set off a chain reaction in those four leagues, plus the NFL.
The NBA is expected to resume play this weekend, and players will attempt to "find new and improved ways to make social justice statements," per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.