Aug 4, 2018; Canton, OH, USA; Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 enshrinee Brian Urlacher during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Bensen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bears, New Mexico, Forte condemn Urlacher comment

The Chicago Bears and the University of New Mexico issued statements on Friday distancing themselves from Brian Urlacher after the Hall of Fame linebacker wrote a controversial comment following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wis.

Urlacher posted the following to his Instagram story on Thursday after NBA players elected to sit out playoff games as a means to protest.

“Brett Favre played the (Monday Night Football) game the day his dad died, threw 4 TDs in the first half, and was a legend for playing in the face of adversity,” Urlacher wrote.

“NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.”

Urlacher also allegedly liked an Instagram post calling for the release of Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old white teenager who has been charged with first-degree homicide in the killing of two protesters this week in Kenosha.

The Bears were quick to make it clear that they don’t share Urlacher’s views.

“The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization,” the team said in a statement.

Urlacher’s alma mater, New Mexico, issued a lengthy statement on Friday.

“We, the players, of The University of New Mexico football team vehemently condemn the words of one of our most renowned and respected alumni, Brian Urlacher,” the school said in a statement. “… When you have a platform, you also have the responsibility and an obligation to use it wisely and respectfully; especially when you are the face of multiple sports organizations. As one of our own we look forward to the opportunity to sit down and discuss the comment Brian posted and why it was hurtful to us.

“… Regardless of who you are or your relation to this football team, we will no longer tolerate hatred and blatant ignorance directed towards the very existence of so many on this team. We will always stand unified and we will march far across the river towards justice together. We are The University of New Mexico football team and we will always fight ignorance and hatred with empowerment and unity.”

Running back Matt Forte, who played with Urlacher in Chicago for five seasons from 2008-12, took to social media to share his frustration with his former teammate’s comment.

“The comment (Urlacher) posted is void of empathy, compassion, wisdom and coherence. But full of pride and ignorance!” Forte wrote on Twitter. “I pray for those who have been blinded by their wealth, privilege and earthly fame that breeds arrogance in their hearts. And those who refuse to acknowledge racism and injustice but instead choose to place their energy into justifying it by quickly judging the victims life as if they themselves are more valuable because their sins are different or weren’t caught by man… but God sees all.”

Urlacher was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and was the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year in a 13-year career spent entirely with the Bears. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2020; Owings Mills, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end Jihad Ward (53) rushes the passer during individual position drills during morning session of training camp at Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens cancel practice, call for police officers’ arrest

The Baltimore Ravens will not practice on Friday and instead will meet for what franchise called a “team unifying session surrounding social justice reform.”

Nine NFL teams called off practice on Thursday, a day after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game, leading to a temporary shutdown of the NBA playoffs.

The teams are protesting the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, in Wisconsin last Sunday.

The Ravens issued a statement on Thursday that called for an end to racial injustice, as well as the arrest of the police officers involved in both the shooting of Blake, who is hospitalized, and the death of Breonna Taylor. She was shot and killed when officers executed a no-knock search warrant at her home in March.

“With yet another example of racial discrimination with the shooting of Jacob Blake, and the unlawful abuse of peaceful protesters, we MUST unify as a society,” the Ravens began their team statement. “It is imperative that all people — regardless of race, religion, creed or belief — come together to say, ‘Enough is enough!’

“This is bigger than sports. Racism is embedded in the fabric of our nation’s foundation and is a blemish on our country’s history. If we are to change course and make our world a better place, we must face this problem head-on and act now to enact positive change.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 10, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; A detailed view of the Detroit Lions helmet during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Lions cancel practice to protest Wisconsin shooting

The Detroit Lions canceled practice Tuesday to protest the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said the players made the decision following a team meeting Tuesday morning.

Dozens of players, wearing masks, appeared outside of the team training facility in Allen Park, Mich., with large signs reading “The World Can’t Go On” and “We Won’t Be Silent.”

“I challenge everybody in the league to go out there and to continue these conversations and to listen,” Lions coach Matt Patricia told reporters. “These are real stories. … We want to be a part of the solution.”

Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, is hospitalized in serious condition after police shot him several times in the back outside of a parked car in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday afternoon.

Ben Crump, an attorney representing the Blake family, said three of Blake’s sons — ages 3, 5 and 8 — were in the car at the time of the shooting.

Blake’s father, also named Jacob Blake, told the Chicago Sun-Times in a story published on Tuesday that his son is paralyzed from the waist down.

Lions defensive tackle Danny Shelton wore a shirt Tuesday with the words “We Demand Justice” written across the chest.

“I’ve never been more proud to be a part of this team,” said Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, per mlive.com. “An incredible group of guys in this locker room led by a coach who’s unwavering in his ability to give us space to talk.”

The Wisconsin shooting comes in the wake of nationwide protests over the shooting deaths of other unarmed Black people, including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.

–Field Level Media