The Detroit Lions have canceled practice for Tuesday (Aug. 25) in response to the horrific shooting of Jacob Blake. The players stood in solidarity in front of the team training facility next to a sign that read, “THE WORLD CAN’T GO ON.”
“While some people think that we’re just football players, this league 67 percent — two-thirds of its players — are African-American,” Lions safety Duron Harmon said, according to FOX 2 Detroit. “Jacob Blake could have been anybody’s brother, cousin, uncle, friend. Could have been them. And it wasn’t OK.”
Harmon later addressed the shooting during a virtual media session. “This organization is going to make sure we speak out on it,” he said. “We can’t be silent anymore — nobody can be silent. If you’re being silent, you’re okay with what’s happening.”
Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot multiple times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday (Aug. 23). A video of the shooting went viral and viewers watched as Blake was shot — while his kids watched from inside the car.
The police officers who were involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues. On Tuesday, Blake’s father revealed that his son was paralyzed from the waist down following the shooting. Doctors do not know if his paralyzation will be permanent.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford told reporters that football was not a topic of discussion at their team meeting on Tuesday. He also said that coach Matt Patricia opened the floor for players to speak about the incident.
“Football is the last thing on our mind at the moment, to be honest with you,” Stafford said, according to The Detroit News. “The biggest thing for us was, how do we get our voices heard? We have a lot of guys in this locker room with a lot to say and a lot of guys that are extremely smart and talented speakers and understand so much of what’s going on.”
He added, “It’s the first time that we’ve all been in the same room to talk about it and had the ability to see each other’s faces … and just feel that. Obviously, it’s something that continues to happen. And the level of frustration and anger is palpable.”
Check out a photo of the team below.