GREEN BAY, Wis. — A day after Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner said the players “would love for all 32 NFL owners to get out there and make meaningful statements, to speak from the heart about what they truly believe,” team president Mark Murphy — the closest thing the publicly held Packers have to an owner — did just that.
In a video message on the team website, Murphy said he believes NFL owners can effect change when it comes to social injustices.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 29, 2020
“I also call on NFL owners,” said Murphy, who represents the Packers at all league owners meetings. “They are in powerful, privileged positions and can make a huge difference. And obviously have close relations with everybody and all their organizations. It’s time to make changes.”
Murphy was part of the team meetings the Packers held this week in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Murphy called the shooting of Blake, a Black man, a “horrific shooting.”
Kenosha is about 155 miles from Green Bay.
Murphy said the team will make a $250,000 social justice impact grant. That’s in addition to the $500,000 the team already pledged to support such causes.
“One of the keys, I think, to resolving this, is people in positions of power, particularly white people, it’s on you to make a difference,” Murphy said. “The issues we’re facing, they’re not political issues. They’re societal issues. They’re issues affecting basic human rights, and I call on our sponsors, local business and community leaders and our fans to get behind our players, to get behind the organization to help make a difference on these important issues.”
He also said part of the area around Lambeau Field — the Johnsonville Tailgate Village — will be turned into a polling place for the upcoming November election.
“As an organization, we will continue to find ways to support the Black community because Black lives matter,” Murphy said. “Fighting racism is not an issue the Packers will shy away from. Thanks for your support of the Packers and we hope to see all of you at Lambeau Field very soon.”
The Packers canceled practice on Thursday after long team discussions about social justice.
On Sunday, center Corey Linsley said players held a call with Wisconsin Public Defender Kelli Thompson to discuss ways they could make an impact.
“It’s made an impact on me,” Linsley said. “I know that it’s made an impact on guys in the locker room and I hope that we can carry this impact that we’ve felt and move other people to really empathize and hear out guys, players that they see on Sunday, that they watch on Sunday, that they have a ton of respect for and believe in and cheer for and to just get people to empathize, listen to them, open their minds and hearts and really come to some sort of conclusion, come to some sort of outcome where we can have an impact on society and have an impact for the greater good.”