The Jacob Blake shooting has generated plenty of strong reactions from NFL players and coaches. In fact, one NFL head coach even came up with a creative idea to display Blake’s name as a way to send a message. While Bill Belichick did not go that far, he did send a praiseworthy message about New England Patriots players and their role in the social justice movement.
The Jacob Blake shooting has elicited strong reactions
The Jacob Blake shooting added another layer to the narrative about police brutality. The 29-year-old Black man got shot seven times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday, August 23. Considering we are just months removed from George Floyd’s death, the latest example of police brutality has elicited strong emotional responses from professional athletes.
Cam Newton, who once called Colin Kaepernick “a legend” for raising awareness about police brutality and racial inequality, sent a powerful message about the problems that persist in our country.
“What’s going on in this country of ours at times is extremely disgusting,” Newton said. “And until we find a fix, then more than ever we have to unify as one as much as possible. From the Black Lives Matter campaign to the social injustice, bringing awareness with that, to just everybody becoming more aware of certain things, and not necessarily turning their ear, turning their face with things that are extremely blatant.”
In addition, Aaron Rodgers had a blunt assessment of the situation. The Packers QB did not mince his words when discussing the Blake shooting.
“There’s a systemic problem, and until the problem is fixed, this is going to be an all-too-common sighting in this country,” Rodgers said. “There’s antiquated laws that are prejudicial against people of color in this state. I think the governor and the folks at the Capitol need to take a hard look at some of those systems that are in place.”
Bill Belichick sends praiseworthy message
For Bill Belichick, training camp represents a critical time of the season. After all, he has a chance to evaluate his roster and make necessary adjustments. However, in light of the Jacob Blake shooting, football has taken somewhat of a back seat. Though many NFL teams continue to practice, that does not mean players have stayed silent.
In fact, the incident has sparked in-depth discussions among players and coaches. When asked at Friday’s press conference about how the Patriots have handled the Blake shooting, Belichick refused to comment on private happenings within the team. However, he did send a praiseworthy message about his players that serves as a stark reminder of why a strong team culture makes a world of difference.
“I’ve certainly learned a lot and continue to learn a lot,” Belichick said. “We have an incredible group of players. I’m so proud of this team and the players we have on it. The way that they’re involved in each other’s lives as teammates, the way that they raise their families, and are involved in the community on a number of different levels.”
Of course, Belichick values maturity and leadership very highly, which has played a significant role in New England maintaining a two-decade dynasty. Yet, even for Belichick, life means more than just football.
“We’ve always prided ourselves in doing things right and not only being a good football team but being a pillar of the community,” he said. “That continues to be our goal and our expectation, and I’m so proud of what our players do on all those levels.”
Belichick needs strong leadership from his players more than ever
Bill Belichick established the “Patriot Way” culture a long time ago. However, with Tom Brady gone, he needs strong leadership from his players more than ever. Even though Brady’s commitment to the team waned in recent years, he still served as the unquestioned leader in New England.
Now, though, the Patriots will need other leaders to step up. Of course, that took a hit with Dont’a Hightower, Pat Chung, and Marcus Cannon headlining an eight-man group of Patriots players opting-out of the season.
Luckily for Belichick, the McCourty twins will be back for at least another year. Julian Edelman already showed his leadership and maturity this offseason with his learning opportunity invitation to DeSean Jackson. Stephon Gilmore may not talk a big game, but he commands respect for his play on the field. Plus, key veterans like Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and James White set the tone on offense.
Bill Belichick needs his veterans to step up for a Brady-less team that also suffered significant personnel losses due to COVID-19. Let’s see if the Patriots head coach, along with his strong group of leaders, can make a deep playoff run this season.