Ever since protests erupted all over the United States following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, members of the New England Patriots have been actively supporting calls for social justice and more police accountability. As the latest gesture, 24 current players as well as the team’s director of player personnel, Nick Caserio, have signed a petition by the Players Coalition supporting the Ending Qualified Immunity Act.
The document, which was shared by the Players Coalition on Wednesday morning, is addressed directly to members of the United States Congress:
We are more than 1,400 current and former professional athletes and coaches from across the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball in America. We are tired of conversations around police accountability that go nowhere, and we have engaged in too many “listening sessions” where we discuss whether there is a problem of police violence in this country. There is a problem. The world witnessed when Officer Chauvin murdered George Floyd, and the world is watching now, as officers deploy enormous force on peaceful protestors like those who were standing outside the White House last week. The time for debate about the unchecked authority of the police is over; it is now time for change.
The document supports a bill intended to end qualified immunity for police officers — for further explanation into the matter, please watch this recent clip from the HBO show Last Week Tonight — and has been signed by some of the country’s and pro football’s most famous athletes. Among them many with ties to the New England Patriots, from quarterback legend Tom Brady to current team leaders such as Devin McCourty or Matthew Slater.
All in all, the list of Patriots showing support for the cause looks as follows:
WR Quincy Adeboyejo, DT Beau Allen, C David Andrews, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, CB Justin Bethel, S Terrence Brooks, LB Shilique Calhoun, G Jermaine Eluemunor, S Malik Gant, DT Lawrence Guy, LB Dont’a Hightower, QB Brian Hoyer, TE Matt LaCosse, S Devin McCourty, CB Jason McCourty, S Adrian Phillips, LB Derek Rivers, WR Mohamed Sanu, WR Matthew Slater, QB Jarrett Stidham, RB James White, CB Joejuan Williams, LB Chase Winovich, OT Isaiah Wynn, Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio
“I understand that people will say, ‘Hey, you guys are there to play football, let’s just do that,’” Slater recently said about players’ involvement as part of the ongoing social unrest. “When something of this magnitude happens in our country, it’s important that we process it because it’s going to have an effect on different guys in our locker room in different ways. We’ve started the process of trying to navigate this and digest it and internalize it and process it.”
According to Slater and other reports, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has also actively been involved in creating a forum for his players to voice their thoughts and concerns on current developments, and share different perspectives among their teammates.