Bigger than football: Lafleur, Packers focus on social justice, inequality


GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 10: Head coach Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers look on against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter in the game at Lambeau Field on November 10, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

(WFRV) – After the death of George Floyd and the 11 days of protests, thus far, that have followed has a lot of people around the country talking about social justice and racial inequality. The Green Bay Packers are no different.

“I saw that video, it was appalling man. It was totally unacceptable. Here we are in 2020 and this stuff is still on going. Just really trying to listen to our players, to listen to some of my closest friends,” said head coach Matt Lafleur.

This past week the Packers continued their virtual offseason meetings, and a lot conversations went from football to how to make a difference. Especially with racial inequality, social justice, and police brutality.

“There’s been a lot of discussions. I’d say the majority of my time over the course of this last week has been on other things, on the social injustice, on police brutality. I’ve had far more conversations in regards to those aspects of life instead of football,” said LaFleur.

For LaFleur the best thing he can do right now for his players is listen, and talk about ways to make change happen.

“There’s a lot of guys who are really hurting right now and they’ve been hurting for years. Unfortunately, we as a society haven’t been listening. I’m just trying to think for myself and things I could do to help and I do think it starts with listening but then we’re going to have to start coming up with an action plan,” said LaFleur.

On Thursday the Packers released a video featuring players and LaFleur. A statement about the need for a change that was started by the team’s leadership council.

“Everybody put a lot of work into it, a lot of thought. Aaron Rodgers knid of took the bull by the horns, wrote a specific piece that we would all say, and everybody in the middle of it put their own story. There was a lot of meaning behind it,” said LaFleur.

There will be another time for football, eventually. There is a need for sports in the country with the protests and pandemic that preceded this spring.

In the meantime, LaFleur will be there for his players until it’s time to focus on football.

“Like I told the team, I don’t know what it’s like to be a black man in America. I don’t try to pretend to know, but what I do try to do is listen, show empathy, and I told the guys I’m all in for whatever needs to be done,” said LaFleur.

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