JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars delayed the start of practice on Thursday morning as the team had an open discussion on social justice issues, but decided to take the field in wake of another shooting that has continued to spotlight racial issues in the country.
Coach Doug Marrone’s morning press conference was canceled as coaches and players discussed ways to create “actionable change” in the wake of another shooting of a Black man by a police officer thrust the issue back into the forefront.
“This morning, our players and coaches met for over two hours, and we continued the discussion around creating actionable change in our communities,” Marrone said.
A day earlier, the Milwaukee Bucks triggered an unprecedented stretch when players refused to take the court against the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of the NBA playoff series. That led to the league canceling all three playoff games for Wednesday.
The Bucks were protesting the Sunday shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisc. Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer during an incident there.
Several NFL teams around the league — the Bears, Cardinals, Colts and Packers — canceled their Thursday practices.
The Jaguars have been among the NFL franchises with the most profound stance on social justice this summer. On June 5, they were the first NFL team to take a public stand on racial and social issues, marching from TIAA Bank Field to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to show unity for those causes. Receiver Chris Conley made a powerful speech on the steps of the courthouse that went viral.
Team owner Shad Khan locked arms with players at midfield before the Jaguars’ game at Wembley Stadium in 2017 as a stand against President Donald Trump’s comments about players kneeling during the national anthem. Khan also wrote a powerful op-ed piece this summer detailing his encounters with racism and promised to listen to his players as they spoke up about social justice issues.