Troy Vincent isn’t sure whether NFL players will boycott games or otherwise protest, but the high-ranking league executive can identify the biggest issue they want to see resolved: police accountability.
“It’s really time for us to dig into what we talk about as police reform,” Vincent, EVP-football operations, said during a conference call Tuesday of feedback he’s received from personal discussions with several players. “It’s really around the area of accountability and how can we leverage from our office, our governmental affairs office … players want to see us leveraging our influence to hold officers that are bad officers to be held accountable.”
The NFL has increased its commitment to social justice initiatives in the wake of recent incidents in which unarmed Black people have been killed or shot at the hands of white police officers. Yet the NFL hasn’t had a game since the Super Bowl in February, fueling questions of how players might choose to make statements as the regular season looms. The Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their scheduled playoff game last Wednesday in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting, which prompted the postponement of other NBA matchups. Athletes and teams in other leagues also followed suit.
“We keep seeing the same image on television of unarmed Black men being shot down,” Vincent said, alluding to the challenge from players to the league to leverage political clout to influence change.
“That’s what they want to see. That’s been consistent. There’s a degree of pain, of frustration, but that is the area of focus – police accountability – where they’d really like to see us focus our efforts.”
Follow Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.
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