June 01-- Owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam and other high-ranking officials of the Browns and Columbus Crew released a joint statement Monday lobbying for societal changes in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.
Floyd died on Memorial Day while in custody of Minneapolis police after former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, an act recorded on a bystander's cellphone video.
Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday. He and three other officers involved in the tragedy were fired Tuesday. Those three other officers have yet to be charged, and protests swept the nation over the weekend.
The Haslams, daughter Whitney, son-in-law JW Johnson, who holds the title of Browns executive vice president, Browns General Manager Andrew Berry, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, Crew investor and operator Dr. Peter Edwards, Crew President and GM Tim Bezbatchenko and Crew coach Caleb Porter had the following prepared statement attributed to them:
"Sports can be a great unifier in our communities for what teams do on the field and we must work together to elevate our efforts and our actions to ensure that we can be a positive and productive change agent off the field.
"With yet more tragic deaths, we, as a nation and as individuals, must truly create meaningful dialogue, have difficult conversation, demonstrate real empathy and take productive and non-violent action to address injustices.
"These are complex issues that no sports team can solve on its own. We can only help create change by working together with our community, our players and our entire region to find solutions.
"We take great pride in our city and in our region and recognize the suffering in the African American community throughout the country. Although, we, like many others have worked to advocate for social justice, now more than ever, we must do even more to work collectively to end racism and bond together for justice and equality."
Several Browns players, including wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., defensive end Myles Garrett, safety Karl Joseph, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, quarterback Baker Mayfield and center JC Tretter, the president of the NFL Players Association, have used social media in recent days to speak out about Floyd's death.
Over the weekend, Landry implored people on Twitter to "PLEASE VOTE," then directed criticism at Donald Trump and his "Make America Great Again" movement in another tweet Monday.
"Leader Of The Free World?? 2 Things.
"It ain't freedom and We don't have a leader!!!
"M*** (I ain't even saying those words) isn't about unity, it's about maintaining the division of our Nation. I see one of the World's Biggest Oppessors Unfiltered and Out Of Control," Landry wrote.
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