Packers' Mark Murphy Calls on NFL Owners to Help Address Social Justice Issues

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 30, 2020

Green bay Packers president Mark Murphy looks on before the NFL NFC Championship football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Packers Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy implored NFL owners to tackle social justice concerns in a video released on the team's website on Saturday.

"I often hear we should stick to sports,” Murphy said per the Associated Press. "I have to respectfully disagree."

Murphy then referenced ex-Packers head coach and five-time NFL champion Vince Lombardi, saying that he was "ahead of his time in signing and supporting Black players when few in the league did."

He also said NFL owners must do their part.

"I also call on NFL owners," Murphy said.

"They are in powerful, privileged positions. They can make a huge difference and obviously have close relations with everybody in all their organizations. It’s time to make changes."

Murphy's statements come on a day when Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll made similar pleas to his fellow coaches regarding the fight for social justice and against systemic racism, per Michael-Shawn Dugar.

"Coaches, I'm calling on you," Carroll said. "All coaches. Let's step up. No more being quiet, no more being afraid to talk the topics. No more 'Oh, I'm a little bit uncomfortable. I might lose my job because I've taken a stand here or there.' Screw it. We can't do that anymore."

Many NFL teams have canceled practices this week in order to gather as a team to discuss social justice initiatives, including the Packers, who did so on Thursday.

"Certainly there's a lot of raw emotion that comes out in these meetings with players that come from different backgrounds, that come from different experiences," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said per Wes Hodkiewicz of the Packers' website.

"They really pour their heart out there and you feel for these guys. (We) just want to continue to listen and see what we can do to make a positive impact in this society."

Recent comments and action from Murphy, Carroll, the Packers and many others in the NFL and American professional sports come days after Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times in the back by police trying to detain him in Kenosha, Wisconsin last Sunday.

The NBA's postseason took a three-day pause this week, and games were called off in the WNBA, MLB and MLS.