Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan wrote an op-ed today regarding the death of George Floyd at the hands of police and the protests and riots that have come in response. Citing his background as coming to America from Pakistan and his belief in the American Dream (including the racism that comes with it) Khan talks about his goals as an owner. He said he wants to “level the playing field” and that he’s committed to developing downtown Jacksonville, which he believes will create new jobs for people.
This kind of statement has been echoed by most owners and sports franchises in the wake of the protests, yet one thing has stuck out to me:
Rarely any of them, and this includes Khan’s, has mentioned who or what actually killed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more unarmed black people — the police and their brutality.
It’s time for owners, the people with the most money and the most weight to throw around, to actually do something. If you’re against police brutality, it doesn’t mean you’re against the police. And condemning police brutality shouldn’t be that hard to say.
NFL owners are some of the richest people in the world. There’s no excuse to just say you’re against the thing that kills the friends, families, and community members of the people you employ and make you money.
I appreciate what Khan said about his plans to improve the city of Jacksonville. But now it’s time for action to be put behind words. If you say you stand against systemic racism, yet financially support the one person who encourages, empowers, and emboldens this systemic racism, nothing will get done.
Call for police reforms in Jacksonville, starting with the release of body cam footage in police-involved shootings. Use your money to donate to people who pledge to support these types of causes. Speak up in public forums and debates around Jacksonville. And this goes for every owner — they need to have concrete plans in place where they work with players and their communities to create these things Khan says he wants.
His words are fine and dandy; now’s the time to put action behind them.