LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Football wasn’t the only thing on Matt Nagy’s mind at Bears camp Tuesday.
His thoughts drifted 31 miles north to Kenosha as he began his daily press conference.
“Want to obviously start off by giving all of our thoughts and prayers to Jacob Blake. It’s very disturbing for everybody and it’s got to stop. We talked about it with our football team. The biggest thing is all of us understanding the platform that we have and that we need to use that every day, every single day. It’s imperative that we do that.”
A few hours later, the organization followed suit, releasing a statement of its own.
“The Chicago Bears are deeply disturbed by yet another instance of a police officer using excessive force against a Black person, this time on Sunday evening in Kenosha, a community just up the road from Halas Hall. Jacob Blake is the latest name added to a list that tragically continues to grow. We will continue to use our voice and resources to be a proponent of change and we support the efforts of all those who are peacefully fighting for equality and the end of systemic racism in our communities. Our thoughts are with Jacob and his family and we pray for his recovery.”
Discussions about race, inequality, and social injustice are nothing new for the Bears. Earlier this summer, the entire team met on Zoom to share their feelings about the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests.
“It’s great to be on a team that openly speaks about that. We have open conversations about everything that happens around us,” explained Bears running back Tarik Cohen. “With all the notoriety and attention that it’s been getting – police brutality – you would think that it would slow down a little bit and not still be a main topic every day when you wake up and see it on the news. But, it’s crazy that we still see those same things happening in today’s world.”
Bears tackle Charles Leno Jr. wants to not only talk about it, but take action.
“For me personally, just trying to heal with the community. I’m going to see what we can do with our PR and CR staff – how we can help that community because they’re so close to us. Honestly, this has been a problem. We know it’s been a problem, but we just need more awareness and to spread more awareness. Within that awareness, also spread compassion and understanding others. That’s one of the biggest things. With that will come love. We need more of that in this world. Also, I just believe police training, too. I don’t know how many hours those guys do. I know we train a lot on the football field. I think they need a little bit more because they’re dealing with lives and their handling lives. Every single life is precious.”