Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur opened his Monday press conference speaking not about football, but about racial injustice. LaFleur said he spent time over the weekend and this morning talking with the Packers’ plate leadership council concerning the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.
“I wanted to get our guys’ perspective and float around some ideas about how we can make a difference and use our platform,” he said, speaking with reporters via web conference. “Things have to change. Social injustice, police brutality, antiquated laws. We have to bring awareness to everyone that black lives matter.”
As a team, the Packers have been increasingly active concerning social justice causes, making a large donation to racial justice groups earlier this year and calling for change amid national protests over the murder of George Floyd and others. LaFleur says he and his players will continue to have the conversations necessary to enact whatever change they can.
“For myself, I don’t have the right answers right now. I think awareness is great, I think awareness is at an all-time high right now,” he said. “But how do you hold people accountable to make sure that these types of events don’t take place?”
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was one of the players with whom LaFleur spoke after the weekend shooting. Rodgers said he and others on the Packers will continue to advocate for change to what he described as a systemic problem.
“I think the Governor and folks at the Capitol need to take a hard look at some of those systems that are in place,” Rodgers said. “I know a ton of (police officers), a lot of them have traveled with us over the years. I’ve been pulled over a couple of times and had nice interactions which aren’t the norm for all guys on the squad ... one action by a cop doesn’t mean that every cop is unfit for duty or is racist but it gives them a bad name and a bad look. I hope there are cops who can speak out as we’re speaking out about these things and be as disgusted at this unfortunate norm.”
LaFleur also addressed the spate of false-positive COVID-19 tests originating in one of the labs handling daily tests for NFL players. The Packers weren’t affected, but LaFleur says they’re closely monitoring the league’s testing procedures.
“It definitely raises our level of concern,” he said, adding that separate test processing facilities for every team doesn’t seem to be a realistic solution. “I don’t believe that’s feasible right now. It’s in the hands of the National Football League, and that’s about all I know about that.”
The Packers had a light practice Monday after longer padded practices Saturday and Sunday. LaFleur said tomorrow will be more intense, as the Packers will be practicing inside Lambeau.