What can we do next?
That’s the question Broncos security Kareem Jackson has asked and discussed since nationwide protests over racism and police brutality gripped the country after George Floyd’s death, while he was detained in Minneapolis last week.
During a team meeting on Tuesday. During a video call with his fellow players in defense. And during recent training sessions with other NFL players in Texas.
“We need to take action behind our words,” Jackson said in a media video interview on Tuesday afternoon.
Developing an action strategy started with the team meeting and other conversations with players and is expected to continue when Jackson contacts teammates to ‘kick some ideas around’.
Jackson wants the conversation to be just the beginning. He wants to make an impact. He wants to show protesters that they have the support of the Broncos. He doesn’t want to stay put.
“We need to figure out what we can do not just as a team, but as an organization,” said Jackson. How can we get out and influence the Denver community? Maybe we can organize a march or something like that as a team. We must leave the community and be heard. Just the chances that we have as professional athletes, it’s huge for us to be heard and it’s huge for us to be in the community and see us and know we’re behind them. “
The dialogue reached a different stage when Broncos President / CEO Joe Ellis led a team meeting on Tuesday where several players and coaches spoke.
Afterwards, the organization’s statement on social media said, “There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination. The Broncos share in the outrage (s) concern over these senseless deaths. We have the opportunity to be part of the healing process. “
Coach Vic Fangio said he will address the players at a meeting on Thursday. Available to the media for the first time since April 25, Fangio began his session with a statement condemning Floyd’s death.
Fangio said he was “shocked, sad and angry” when he watched the video of Floyd being pinned by former officer Derek Chauvin, who has been arrested and charged, and said an editorial from NBA major Kareem Abdul-Jabbar addressed.
“Kareem also acknowledged that 98-99% of the police do a great job in difficult situations and that we should do everything we can to correct the small percentage that doesn’t do great work every day,” said Fangio. “Kareem was a person who spoke wisely and with solutions. This is not a political issue. … It is a social problem that we must all participate in (correct). … Sport brings people together and I look forward to the Broncos and the NFL leading that (effort). ”
Several Broncos players have made comments through their social media channels and safety Justin Simmons has been praised for his comments to a group of protesters in Florida. Simmons did not participate in the team’s video meeting because he has not yet signed his franchise enrollment, but Fangio greeted him for his efforts.
“Justin is a great person and a great leader and has screwed his head in tight and sees the problems and how to fix them and does it peacefully,” said Fangio.
At the age of 32, Jackson is the oldest player in the Broncos squad and one of only four who is at least 30, so his life experiences and insight and feelings will be through a dressing room, or in the current NFL shutdown lineup, through his Zoom video screen.
“We need to get out (in the community) so that these children and everyone in these communities can actually see us and know that we are there to help them and that we are on the same page with them,” he said. “It is clearly a sad time in what we are going through, but at the end of the day those (actions) have to be done. You have to go out and do the things we can do to be heard.”
Several times, when answering questions, Jackson returned to the same topic.
What can we do next?
“Most importantly, try to figure out the next step in promoting the right things to do when it comes to this social injustice,” said Jackson. “In the meeting earlier (Tuesday), that’s what I shared: we can talk about it until we’re blue in the face. We need to put some sort of action behind it.”