JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a powerful and wide-ranging editorial on Wednesday, Jaguars owner Shad Khan weighed in on the current state of the country, saying that it’s time to confront and address racial discrimination no matter the cost.
In an op-ed published on the team’s website, Khan, who was born in Pakistan and arrived in America with $500 to his name, said the country can’t afford to say things but not act on the issue of racial discrimination.
Now is the time.
“Racism, in all its forms, will kill. It kills people, it kills communities, it kills dreams, it kills hope. For many Americans, now is the moment. Never has that been clearer. I don’t want to waste this moment,” Khan wrote.
Khan’s full op-ed can be found here.
Over the past three months, three prominent cases involving African-Americans have captivated the country and ignited protests across the nation. Ahmaud Arbery was killed by the son of a former law enforcement agent in Brunswick, Ga. Breonna Taylor was killed on March 13 when police officers who were executing a search warrant barged into her home and shot and killed Taylor.
Arbery was killed on Feb. 23 while jogging through a residential area. He was unarmed and the incident was caught on video. His assailants were white.
The tipping point in the recent events came on May 25 when George Floyd was restrained by a white police officer in Minneapolis. The officer held Floyd down on the ground and pressed his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd died. The incident was caught on camera and sparked the massive amount of protests the country has seen since it happened.
“The video capturing the final moments of George Floyd’s life offers the latest horrific evidence of injustice that is all too prevalent in the U.S. No families in this country should have to go to bed at night worrying about whether their children are going to encounter the wrong police officer in the wrong moment,” Khan said. “No families should have to worry about their child losing their life just because of the color of their skin. Yet, they do. That should never happen in what should be, and I still believe is, the greatest nation on the planet.”
Khan, one of the wealthiest of the NFL owners, said that he’s often described as a “self-made” person although that’s not entirely true. He said that he was supported throughout his journey by a lengthy list of people, from fraternity brothers and professors to classmates and colleagues. Khan, Muslim American, said that he encountered discrimination throughout his 53 years in the country and that he can empathize with those who are discriminated against.
“In Jacksonville, I frequently meet with Jaguars players to better understand their experiences and concerns. I can only imagine their range of emotions today in the wake of all that has unfolded in 2020. I know they are hurting, yet also committed to doing good in Jacksonville and the communities where they were raised and will always consider home,” Khan said.
“Mindful of this, I will listen to the players in the days ahead with an exceptionally keen ear so we can work with them to make the transition from conversation to actionable plans in the name of lasting change. And I will do the same with employees and associates throughout my various businesses, where the interests and concerns on this matter are no less vital.”
Khan’s words carry significant weight. As a minority in an NFL ownership industry dominated by white men, Khan has spoken out numerous times on social issues. A photo of him locking arms with Jaguars players on the field before a game in London was one of the most powerful images of 2017, and done to protest the words of President Donald Trump, who said owners should cut players who kneeled during the national anthem.
Former Jaguars player Peyton Thompson said in a series of tweets this week that Khan was an owner who was unafraid to stand up for change.