Hours before the NBA postponed its Wednesday playoff games in response to the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to boycott the game — stemming from the Jacob Blake shooting — Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid addressed the media in a regularly-scheduled Zoom press conference.
Kenosha, Wisconsin police were responding to an unrelated domestic violence call shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday when they came into contact with Blake. State investigators are currently examining the shooting.
“I think you guys know, I’m into team, I’m into peace and people getting along,” offered Reid in his opening statement. “Right or wrong, we all need to join hands here and make this world a place where we can go into each other’s neighborhoods and be comfortable, and that we appreciate life and how important it is, how hard it is to create life, something that really none of us are capable of doing in a test tube. It’s a precious thing. It’s complicated, and it’s precious.
“At this time, everybody needs to come together and join hands like I said and love each other for what we are, and the privilege that we have in this short period of time that we are on Earth, as opposed to walking in fear, to walk with strength and pride and make this country the greatest place ever, along with the world. We do that, and we’ll be a great example to the world.
“But my heart goes out to Jacob and his family and that situation. I don’t know the whole story, but I hate seeing the way things are going right now. We’re better than that, absolutely better than that. Like I said, we respect each other and we’re going to be in a great, great place.”
Friend-of-the-site Matt Derrick posted Reid’s statement to Twitter, leading to Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins calling Reid an amazing person and the “best dude ever.”
“I listen [to the players],” Reid added. “I mean that’s what I do. I try to do the same thing with my kids and people that I come in contact with. It’s no different. You can learn from everybody. There’s concerns right now, and so they’re being addressed.
“Change is always a little uncomfortable for people. In our business, we have a lot of change. It’s constantly happening. But you got to listen. You got to sit, make sure you keep open communication with it. I’m lucky to have a locker room that does that and players that talk about it and guys that listen to each other.
“If we could just put color aside and enjoy each other’s culture, man. We all come from different places. We’re all wired a little different. If we could just bring it together, man, and enjoy each other — what we’re all about — as opposed to taking the negative. Let’s throw that out the window and get this thing right.”
On Tuesday, the Detroit Lions canceled training camp practice in protest. The Chiefs had a scheduled players’ day off on Tuesday, and it sounds like while there was discussion about the Lions, they chose to return to the field on Wednesday.
“One of the advantages I have here is I have a great locker room that communicates, and so I’m able to talk to the guys and get a feel with the guys,” Reid revealed. “There’s obviously concern, but not to where we felt like we needed to do that (cancel practice). We were able to go forward on this, but we also understand where things need to go, and we all need to work forward on this. With that, we’ve got great people in this country and we need to bring that part out in us as opposed to the negative and get ourselves right.”
Chiefs leaders Patrick Mahomes and Tyrann Mathieu were among the first players to throw support behind the Black Lives Matter movement in a now-viral video posted in early June. The video led to the NFL committing itself to the fight against systemic racism.
Mahomes and Mathieu have since done their part to promote voter registration, an initiative the organization continues to support.
“We’ve been having meetings throughout training camp on it,” Reid said. “The league and the union have done a nice job collectively of bringing this issue and issues together — and I think they’ve done a great job of teaching. That’s where we’re at right now. It’s a matter of doing and getting this done, where people really respect each other. I see it every day.
“I wish everybody could see this. I see it every day of guys coming in, and they respect each other. They respect each other’s background. They’re willing to listen when we’ve had these joint meetings about this, about situations on racism. Everybody contributed whether they’re black or white — it doesn’t matter. There’s nothing holding back the communication. I think — as long as we do that — we’re in no better hands than we are with the young people in America right now, because they understand change and they’re going to demand it.
“And so we keep working at it. We’re going to get this right — and that’s where we’re at.”