The Green Bay Packers are asking fans to participate in a ”moment of unification” before Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bears. Players, coaches, and staff from the Packers plan to lock arms during the national anthem, and they want their fans to do the same.
On Tuesday night, the players released a statement saying they hope the display will demonstrate a unified desire for fair treatment.
”It will represent a coming together of players who want the same things that all of us do – freedom, equality, tolerance, understanding, and justice for those who have been unjustly treated, discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly,” the statement says. (read the full statement below)
The statement says NFL community is diverse, containing people who come from “different walks of life and have unique backgrounds and stories.” Yet football brings people together.
“As NFL players, we are a living testimony that individuals from different backgrounds and with different life experiences can work together toward a common goal,” the statement says.
Most of the Packers players locked arms during the anthem before Sunday’s game against Cincinnati Bengals. (see video below)
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said the players’ actions were about ”unity and love … and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people.” He said the Packers love and support the military, and others in uniform.
They say in the statement that by locking arms, they represent the different people who helped build this country.
“We are joining together to show that we are ready to continue to build,” they wrote.
The Packers invited their fans to join them, “by locking arms with whoever you’re with, stranger or loved one, wherever you are—intertwined and included—in this moment of unification.”
Chris Kyle’s widow Taya had some thoughts about unity as it relates to the NFL. She penned an open letter to the NFL, in which she expresses an opinion on the topic.
Chris Kyle was best known as the American Sniper and former U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed by a fellow veteran suffering from post-war issues. His widow has been an outspoken patriot. In her letter, Taya Kyle explains that the NFL does showcase different people coming together and celebrating each other based on skills, with no prejudice. NFL fans were likewise doing their part, celebrating victories and dealing with defeat as one.
“Did it ever occur to you that you and we were already a mix of backgrounds, races and religions? We were already living the dream you want, right in front of you,” she asks in her letter.
She goes on to say that now, the players seem to desire to “focus on division and anger,” disrupting what people loved most about the game.
“You are asking us to abandon what we loved about togetherness and make choices of division. Will we stand with you? Will we stand with our flag? What does it mean? What does it mean if we buy a ticket or NFL gear? What does it mean if we don’t? It is the polar opposite of the easy togetherness we once loved in football,” she continued.
You can read the full statement released by the Packers below:
The NFL family is one of the most diverse communities in the world. Just look around! The eclectic group of players that you root for, the coaches you admire, the people you sit next to in the stands, those high-fiving on military bases, fans at the sports bar or during tailgate parties—we all come from different walks of life and have unique backgrounds and stories.
The game of football brings people together. As NFL players, we are a living testimony that individuals from different backgrounds and with different life experiences can work together toward a common goal.
This Thursday during the national anthem at Lambeau Field, Packers players, coaches and staff will join together with arms intertwined—connected like the threads on your favorite jersey. When we take this action, what you will see will be so much more than just a bunch of football players locking arms. The image you will see on September 28th will be one of unity. It will represent a coming together of players who want the same things that all of us do—freedom, equality, tolerance, understanding, and justice for those who have been unjustly treated, discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly. You will see the sons of police officers, kids who grew up in military families, people who have themselves experienced injustice and discrimination firsthand, and an array of others all linking together in a display of unity.
Those of us joining arms on Thursday will be different in so many ways, but one thing that binds us together is that we are all individuals who want to help make our society, our country and our world a better place. We believe that in diversity there can be UNI-versity. Intertwined, we represent the many people who helped build this country, and we are joining together to show that we are ready to continue to build.
Let’s work together to build a society that is more fair and just.
Join us this Thursday by locking arms with whoever you’re with, stranger or loved one, wherever you are—intertwined and included—in this moment of unification.
– The Packers Players
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