There are a lot of life lessons that come with being part of a football team, according to John Harbaugh.
The Ravens coach was proud of how his players united in their plea for social justice.
"In all absolute frankness, I really wish that everybody could be part of a football team, or something like a football team in their lifetime, because being a part of a football team is a unique thing. A football team comes from a lot of different places and races and spaces and religions, just many different perspectives."
The Ravens held a team-wide meeting to discuss what they could do to promote racial equality and prevent further police shooting of black citizens.
They came up with seven specific recommendations:
- Arrest and charge the police officers responsible for Breonna Taylor’s killing and the shooting of Jacob Blake.
- Demand that Senator Mitch McConnell bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the Senate floor for vote.
- End qualified immunity; require body cameras; ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants; hold police accountable in court; establish a framework to prohibit racial profiling at federal, state, and local levels
- Support state- and federally-mandated CALEA Accreditation and national standards of care in policing.
- Encourage everyone to engage in the political process by registering to vote on both the local and national level. (www.risetovote.turbovote.org)
- Demand prison sentencing reform that is fair and equitable.
- Encourage every citizen to act with respect and compliance when engaging with the police. If you feel there has been an abuse of power, we encourage you to contact your police department’s internal affairs unit.
Harbaugh added the team still has tremendous respect for the police.
"We understand that as a group they’re under fire for reasons that the police that I know want to improve upon and get better at," he said. "I heard it’s said that nobody is more disappointed or more down on – quote, unquote – a bad cop than the good cops. The high 90%, 99% of police officers are great and they make a huge difference, and we’re very thankful for that."
In the end, Harbaugh is proud of the way his players have come together and dealt with all of the adversity surrounding this year's training camp. Many football teams have family-like atmospheres where everyone's voice is heard.
"They have to come together and stand together, even given their differences, to work together to find mutual understanding and to create a brotherhood, really, like a family does," Harbaugh said. "I think there are a lot of places in society where you gain something like that. The place I know is a football team, because I’m a football coach."