(WFRV) – The Green Bay Packers canceled practice on Thursday amid protests and boycotts over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. Head coach Matt LaFleur spoke to the media about the decision and demonstration.
Follow along for the highlights of LaFleur’s Zoom press conference:
On reaction to Bucks and Brewers, decision to cancel: Reached out to a couple guys. Felt it was important to get the leadership council get together. Instead of having an offense/defense meeting, we met as units and then came together as a team. Talked about things we could do moving forward to make significant change.
LaFleur on ideas coming out of discussions: Such an enormous issue. At times when you look at yourself it can be overwhelming. We’ve been talking for a while as a team. Think there’s things we can do in the short term to make a difference, use our voice and platform to hopefully influence enough people to make those changes.
Packers streaming documentary “13” today: Something one of our coaches brought up this morning. LaFleur said he watched it personally this summer. Blows your mind how people can make money off it, certain laws that were passed. Not mandatory but those who want to watch it can right now.
LaFleur on balancing football and issues: That’s a tough question. Something we’re trying to navigate right now. At the end of the day we’re going to play football, but the stuff that’s going on is much bigger than football. Guys want to play, but at the same time want to focus their efforts on making the world a better place.
LaFleur on being a coach watching his players go through this and being a part discussions: Not something you can prepare for. If you have a good heart and know what’s going on, we’re seeing a lot of things that aren’t right. For me it’s easy to stand up here and talk about what’s not right when you see the mistreatment.
Did you get the sense this could be more than a one day thing? “I think it’s something we’re going to talk about on a daily basis.” Don’t think there’s a road map for where we’re going. A lot of guys, myself included, are just tired of what’s going on.
LaFleur on continuing conversations going forward/into the season: Just playing it day by day. Not something you prepare for, but what feels right in the moment. We’ve got a lot of guys in the locker room that are upset about things they’ve seen in the world or experienced. Going to do what I can to support equal rights.
More protest or more emotional reaction? Not one guy said they didn’t want to practice today. More or less having really long conversations. When you see that it’s really hard to focus on football. I made the decision we’re not going to go today. We’ll see where we’re at tomorrow.
The hope is to change how we treat each other, not just as Americans, but as humans.
LaFleur said he would support having players get out and talk to fans individually. Sharing their stories and viewpoints would help.
LaFleur on “stick to sports” and whether or not that era is over: At the end of the day we’re all human, and people have emotions. Don’t think anybody, myself included, want to be defined by what our job. That’s kind of the mentality right now.
LaFleur conversations on conversations with other teams like the Bucks and Brewers: Know a couple players of our team have been in conversation with players on other teams. Confident they’ll come together to do something.
LaFleur on emotion being different from Kaepernick four years ago: Don’t think it’s different. Just becoming more and more raw with what’s happening in society.
What message do you hope to get across? One thing we talked to our team about is, what’s so great about our sport is the essence of team. People of different backgrounds coming together to achieve a goal. If society could see how we operate, the world would be a better place.
LaFleur on strongest voices in team conversations today: There were so many and coaches sharing their experiences that it’s hard to pinpoint just one person. There was so much that was said in there and just powerful stories. Guys had a lot to say and a lot of great ideas of how to attack these things. Just like a game you have to put your plan together before the game, you don’t just go wing it. In the process of putting a plan together, go out there and execute that plan to see changes in society.
LaFleur on decisions to practice tomorrow and making up time that was lost: We’ll put together a plan today, and tomorrow we’ll reconvene as a group and see what the future holds.
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