The Bears are distancing themselves from a social media post that Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher shared Thursday morning.
Following the Bucks-led boycott of Wednesday night’s NBA games, and the eventual postponement of all NBA games on Thursday, Urlacher shared this message:
“The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization,” the team said in the statement.
Urlacher played for the Bears from 2000-2012 and the team honored his Hall of Fame induction with a special ring ceremony in 2018.
Matt Forte has responded to Brian Urlacher’s Instagram post comparing NBA players boycotting playoff games to Brett Favre’s Monday Night Football performance one day after his father died.
The comment @BUrlacher54 posted is void of empathy, compassion, wisdom and coherence. But full of pride and ignorance! I pray for those who have been blinded by their wealth, privilege and earthly fame that breeds arrogance in their hearts. And those who refuse to-continued-
Acknowledge racism and injustice but instead choose to place their energy into justifying it by quickly judging the victims life as if they themselves are more valuable because their sins are different or weren’t caught by man… but God sees all
The post created a fierce debate on social media with some Bears fans calling for Urlacher to be “canceled” while others praised him for sharing his opinion.
The Bears also issued a statement distancing themselves from the Hall of Fame linebacker on Thursday night.
The team canceled practice after Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police, while his children reportedly watched.
#Bears starting RB David Montgomery, who went down in practice yesterday with a groin injury, is expected to be out 2-4 weeks, source said. That gives him a chance of being out on the field for the opener vs. the #Lions.
Normally, it’d be relevant. The Bears’ top running back, injured just a day prior, may actually be ready for the start of the season. Big news, right?
Wondering how the Bears can fix their running back room is a distraction from figuring out how the country in which we live can fix its persistent problem of police shooting and brutalizing Black men and women. In the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc. – which is a shorter drive from Halas Hall than downtown Chicago is – Bears players decided to not participate in football activities Thursday.
“In the wake of what has taken place in our backyard of Kenosha over the last couple of days, we as a team have a lot on our mind today,” a statement attributed to Bears players read. “We decided to pause our football activities to voice to each other, our coaches and our staff where we stand on the real issues around race and police brutality in our country.
“We had a productive discussion, but we all agreed that talks and discussions are simply not enough anymore and we need action. We are putting in plans to take action in our communities and together we believe we can make a real difference. We need action not only today, but in the days to come.”
Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with homicide in connection to the shooting deaths of two protesters in Kenosha this week, was arrested in his home of Antioch, Ill, only about 30 minutes from Halas Hall. Rittenhouse was taken into custody in Lake County, Ill. – the same county in which the Bears practice, and plenty of players live.
Not that the latest example of police brutality and societal unrest over it had to come in the Bears’ backyard for action to be taken. Eight other teams canceled practices Thursday, joining teams in the NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS and NHL in canceling games in the last 24 hours.
And while players did not cancel a game, canceling practice is a big deal. A truncated training camp meant only 15 practices could be held between Aug. 17 and Sept. 3, with the Bears opening the 2020 season Sept. 13 against the Detroit Lions (who canceled practice Tuesday in the aftermath of Blake’s shooting).
The Bears need every practice snap they can get to evaluate their quarterback competition, to get in football shape, to prepare for the regular season after a disappointing 2019. Losing out on a day of work this year matters quite a bit – it’s why the Bears still practiced Sunday after a morning coronavirus scare, even if it was a short walkthrough.
But the impact Thursday’s decision by players to not practice does not matter. What matters is players felt so compelled to do so because yet another Black man was shot by police.
Four years and one day after Colin Kaepernick first knelt to protest police brutality and racial injustice during the national anthem, nine football teams chose to focus their energy on what actions can be taken to fix the problems Kaepernick highlighted in his demonstration.
The Bears, already, are involved with community organizations such as I Grow Chicago, Build Chicago, Youth Guidance and My Block, My City, My Hood. Upon arriving at Halas Hall for training camp, all players were allowed the opportunity to register to vote with the help of the Lake County Clerk’s office.
« We’re trying to help people get out there and vote, » linebacker Danny Trevathan told the Bears’ official website. « A lot of people don’t use their right. I know for me when I turned 18, I knew I had the right to vote, but I didn’t know how to do it. Education was a part of it.
« It’s important because that’s who makes the laws. They control the police. They control the judges, the schools, who’s getting this, who’s getting that, little things that are really big things. So I would encourage everybody who has the voting right to go out there and use that and don’t take it for granted. »
Register to Vote! To my black family and community let’s take advantage of the opportunity to create change. #RegisterToVote #BlackLivesMatter #BeTheChange
But something wide receiver Allen Robinson said back in May, in the aftermath of a Minneapolis police officer murdering George Floyd, still sticks with me.
“I think it’s just continuing to challenge people to take the initiative on a regular basis rather than an events-based basis,” he said. Calls for change and action cannot continue to come only when police officers are caught on camera brutalizing and killing Black men and women.
On Thursday, in the aftermath of another one of those horrific videos, Bears players decided to not practice and instead push for continued action.
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