In the aftermath of Jon Gruden’s resignation as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, the NFL’s behind-the-scenes culture is once again in the spotlight. This week’s edition of Showtime’s Inside the NFL also touched on the topic, with former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman part of the discussion as well.
Edelman shared an anecdote about how the team dealt with the George Floyd murder last year that led to widespread protest against police brutality, institutional racism and social inequality. The three-time Super Bowl champion credited the Patriots’ strong leadership for creating an atmosphere of open discussion.
We had a strong leadership group with Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater,” Edelman explained. “I don’t know how it came along but we had everyone in the organization ... I’m talking everyone from the meal ladies, to the people in the equipment room, to people up our division, everyone was involved. We had an open mic, and if you ever had something happen to you that you wanted to get off of your chest everyone went up there. And it was just conversation.”
Edelman added that he thought the entire team grew closer together by this process, even though he acknowledged that more could “probably” have been done.
The Patriots conducted a series of weekly hour-long meetings before and during the season. The so-called Monday Meetings allowed players and coaches alike to have a forum to discuss social issues.