Before taking questions from reporters during a press conference Wednesday, Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid addressed the shooting of Jacob Blake and the racial tensions attached to the latest high-profile incident of police brutality.
Reid’s statement ended up becoming a focal point of his time with media, joining a series of coaches and athletes who have done the same since a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer shot Blake in the back seven times on Sunday.
“Listen — I think you guys know, I’m into 'team,' I’m into peace and people getting along," Reid said. "Right or wrong, we all need to join hands, band here, and make this world a place where we can go into each other’s neighborhoods and be comfortable and appreciate life and how important it is, how hard it is to create life. ... It’s a precious thing. It’s complicated, but it’s precious."
“My heart goes out to Jacob and his family and that situation," Reid continued. "I don’t know the whole story, but I just hate seeing the way things are going right now. We’re better than that, absolutely better than that. We can, if we respect each other, we’re going to be in a great place.”
Reid said he has discussed the incident with his players, who returned to practice Wednesday after a regularly-scheduled day off.
Reid said the Chiefs did not feel obligated to cancel practice, as the Detroit Lions did on Tuesday. Reid added that the decision to continue as normal came thanks to the transparency in conversations between team leaders and players.
“One of the great advantages that I got here is I have a great locker room that communicates, I’m able to talk to the guys and get a feel with the guys,” Reid said. “There’s obviously concern, but not to where we felt like we needed to do that. We were able to go forward on this. We also understand where things need to go. We all need to work forward on this. We got great people in this country, we need to bring that part out in us as opposed to the negative and get ourselves right.”
This is the second time Reid has addressed racial injustices and police brutality this summer. He spoke about the issues after the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed.
At one point in the presser, Reid trailed off to tell a story about how he's used Blow Pops to talk to children about judgment and the value of seeing people beyond the surface.
"I used to do this thing with Blow Pops when I talked to kids and tried to educate," Reid began. "This is from when I was young and up through today. I take four Blow Pops, pick three kids and say we’re going to have a bubble gum blowing contest. Within one of those Blow Pops, I take the wrapper off and put a $100 bill under the wrapper. Not one time in the 50 to 100 times I’ve given this talk has anyone picked the wrapper that was messed up, that looks like it’s been messed with, because people judge by what’s on the outside, what they see instead of getting in and enjoying what’s inside."
Now, Reid wants everybody to follow the same concept.
“If we can just put color aside and enjoy people’s culture, man, we all come from different places, we’re all wired a little different. If we can just bring it together and enjoy each other and what we’re all about, as opposed to the negative, let’s just throw that thing right out the window and get this thing right.”