GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy takes issue with the notion that the team should “stick to sports” and discusses the team’s plans for addressing social justice concerns in a video posted on the team’s website.
The video was released two days after the Packers canceled practice to discuss these matters and nearly a week after 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. An attorney for Blake’s family has said Blake is paralyzed.
“I often hear we should stick to sports,” Murphy said. “I have to respectfully disagree.”
He cited the example of Vince Lombardi and noted that the former Packers coach was “ahead of his time in signing and supporting Black players when few in the league did.”
“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 said team officials had “good discussions” with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke. Murphy added that “I think our players will be meeting and discussing with them in the future.”
“One of the things that’s very important to all of us is to get bodycams to police officers,” Murphy said.
Murphy also noted that the Packers would be making the Johnsonville Tailgate Village outside Lambeau Field a polling station. Murphy said the Packers would be making a $250,000 social justice impact grant in addition to the $500,000 the team already has provided in social justice grants this year.