Ravens Owner Delivers Spirited Message for Equality
Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and several players delivered a powerful message on social media calling for an end to social injustice.
"To say 'stick to sports' is the worst possible thing that you can feel and say," Bisciotti said. "If my players, both white and black, don't speak out about this injustice to their communities, then they're sellouts or hypocrites. If I don't defend my players, then I'm the worst kind of hypocrite."
The Ravens players also posted a video on social media calling for racial equality.
The team is supporting justice for George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
A video showed police officer Derek Chauvin placing his knee on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd for over eight minutes outside a convenience store. Floyd pleaded with Chauvin numerous times to ease the pressure, saying "I can't breathe."
Floyd's death has sparked outrage across the nation, prompting protests and galvanizing professional athletes across all sports to put an end to police brutality on African-Americans.
Chauvin was arrested and later charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers — Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane — that were involved in the arrest were also charged with aiding and abetting murder.
This is not the first time Bisciotti has taken a stand against inequality.
The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation and the Ravens have jointly committed funds to support social justice reform throughout the Baltimore community. A committee of current and former Ravens players will determine which Baltimore-area programs will directly benefit from the contribution.
"Ask the uncomfortable questions and you will come to the conclusion, I hope, that I have, that you don't feel it enough, and you don't live it enough if you're not willing to say it," Bisciotti said. "Black Lives Matter."
Other former and current Ravens have shown their support.
Lamar Jackson honored the late George Floyd on social media with a photo of him wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey emblazoned with Ray Lewis' number 52. Shortly thereafter, the Hall-of-Famer Lewis shared the same photo.
Ravens offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley promised to help bring about change amid the protests over the recent death of George Floyd.
That type of sentiment has been consistent throughout the Ravens' organization.
"I'm lucky enough through my ownership of this wonderful franchise to have gotten close enough to these young men to see and hear their hurt," Bisciotti said. "And all they're asking for right now is to be heard. And I want to ask you individually, 'Are you willing to listen?'"