Earlier this week, former Jaguars cornerback Peyton Thompson made comments on Twitter suggesting both head coach Doug Marrone and former EVP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin denied players the right to peacefully protest police brutality and social injustice during the national anthem by kneeling during the team’s regular season game in London versus the Baltimore Ravens.
His statements came after the NFL released a statement regarding the on-going social protests in the name of many African Americans who have been stricken down unjustly by the hands of police officers, and the social injustice brewed by racism in this country. The most recent victim being Minnesota native, George Floyd.
However, Thompson said, Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who is also a minority and person of color, changed the mandate by both Marrone and Coughlin, ultimately allowing the players to kneel or lock arms with each other during the national anthem.
The statement issued by the @nfl is complete trash. I specifically remember Tom Coughlin and Doug Marone telling us we couldn't kneel. Thank God we had an owner of minority who weighed in and got us to kneel together! My job security was on the line if I supported my people.— Peyton Thompson (@tattedNspatted) June 1, 2020
On Tuesday, Thompson released a followup after he met with the Jaguars head coach to discuss Marrone’s stance and gather an understanding between each other on how the events transpired, and what needs to happen moving forward.
“I had a healthy conversation with Marrone, yesterday,” Thomson said. “We spoke of his career’s work on equality and his efforts to make his players feel supported as well as the need to separate his actions from others in the organization. But, we also spoke of a time when the organization had a 3rd party come in to speak to the team in an attempt to convince us to change our stance.
“The reality is — the environment that was created in our facility wasn’t safe for everyone to kneel peacefully in protest. At least 60% of the team is of minority, including the owner, yet every player and coach across the league was scared to get “Kaepernick’d. Voices muffled by fear. Job security over human rights. If you stand by and silently watch harm being done to others and silently watch harm being done to others then you’re part of the problem — not the solution.”
“The Jaguars have the opportunity for a do-over! I’m hopeful that Doug’s activism will lead the charge for change this time around. Shad has the power to make good of the @nfl’s statement. I look forward to watching the leader of the team ensure that his players feel as though they have the FULL support of the entire organization. Action needs to start with the owners and coaches...If the Jags won’t do it, what organization will? Inaction is now offensive.”
In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Collin Kaepernick used his platform to peacefully protest by taking a knee during the national anthem, something which ultimately would blackball the quarterback from ever participating in the NFL ever again after backlash from political figures, fans, and even owners and some players themselves - players who still apparently hold the same stance even years later.
Thompson, in having a healthy conversation with Marrone, hopes for change not only throughout the Jaguars organization, but the entire NFL in hopes that one may be able to express themselves without the fear of condemnation cast upon them.
Players, coaches, and owners around the league have spoken out in support of the peaceful protests taking places throughout this nation over the past several days, including Khan who released an op-ed on the matter earlier today. It is through conversations in which players, coaches, and owners hope to be able to change the narrative and take actions considering the large platform they hold today.