BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Although the Baltimore Ravens announced that practice was canceled Friday morning for a team unifying session surrounding social justice reform, Head Coach John Harbaugh clarified that the team had a standard meeting and walkthrough.
Harbaugh said the team will scrimmage Saturday.
On Thursday, the team released a statement demanding the arrests of the officers accused of killing Breonna Taylor and shooting Jacob Blake, and calling on Senator Mitch McConnell to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the Senate floor for a vote.
We have cancelled this morning’s scheduled practice in order to perform a team unifying session surrounding social justice reform.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 28, 2020
The statement read in part:
“With yet another example of racial discrimination with the shooting of Jacob Blake, and the unlawful abuse of peaceful protesters, we MUST unify as a society. It is imperative that all people – regardless of race, religion, creed or belief – come together to say, ‘Enough is enough!’
This is bigger than sports. Racism is embedded in the fabric of our nation’s foundation and is a blemish on our country’s history. If we are to change course and make our world a better place, we must face this problem head-on and act now to enact positive change.
It is time to accept accountability and acknowledge the ramifications of slavery and racial injustice.”
Many sports teams are boycotting games and canceling practice due to the unrest following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Orioles boycotted their game against the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday. They released a statement saying:
“After continued reflection and further dialogue, Orioles players have decided to not play tonight’s game against the Rays as they join athletes around the country in expressing solidarity with victims of social injustice and systemic racism.”
On Friday, Harbaugh emphasized he and his players have tremendous respect for police officers, saying 99 percent of officers are good.
The team’s statement, Harbaugh said, was drawn up by Ravens players and assistant coaches after meeting for more than two hours on Thursday.
The issue of players boycotting games this season didn’t come up, he added.
“We did talk about symbolic things as a team or as a league that might be done or not done or whatever,” he said. “I do believe we’ll play. Guys want to play.”
Harbaugh said he understands not everyone will approve of the team’s statement; in fact, not everyone in the room agreed on every point. Still, they reached the final statement as a team.