Over the weekend, the Detroit Lions and the city they call home took some large steps toward helping America move forward in the wake of a tough few weeks for everyone.
Plenty of players from the team, along with former running back Joique Bell, participated in the Freedom March on Belle Isle in Detroit. Included in the mix was head coach Matt Patricia as well as several players. Linebacker Christian Jones and cornerback/wide receiver Jamal Agnew were on hand.
The team’s account tweeted about the event which they helped organize and sponsor showing off a shot of the whole group from the team coming together during the event.
Lions running back coach Kyle Caskey was also involved and shared a powerful message after the event took place.
It’s clear both the organization, their leadership and players were all excited to be involved in this historic event. The hope is it can lead to stronger bonds between the team, their community and law enforcement as well as increase understanding and healing at a time when folks seem more divided than ever.
Joique Bell Helped Organize Detroit Freedom March
Bell, touched by the events of the last few weeks, organized a freedom march that took place on Friday, June 5 at Belle Isle in Detroit. The event is made to start the conversation that can help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
In a piece by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Bell opens up about his goals for the event. The former criminal justice major at Wayne State has a long history with his family in law enforcement, and that’s a big reason why he decided to make this event possible.
“Bell, who ran for 2,241 yards in his NFL career, is planning a “freedom march” Friday on Belle Isle along with former Detroit mayoral candidate Ken Snapp that he hopes will be the springboard to stronger relationships between law enforcement and minority communities.
The rally starts at 3 p.m., and organizers will lead a silent march around the island at 4 p.m. to honor George Floyd, the Minneapolis man killed last week when a police officer spent nearly nine minutes kneeling on his neck.
“It isn’t just a march just to say we did it,” Bell said. “It’s to march and then to start a dialogue and to bridge that gap with the civilians who are Detroit citizens and also with the local police and the state police, and ultimately kind of be the staple of this is how you should go about creating a change.”
As Bell confirmed in the piece, the Lions backed him up in terms of the planning and execution of the event with anything that he needs. Additionally, several players and folks from the organization attended as shown above. The team has publicized the event on social media.
It’s wonderful to see Bell getting involved in a positive event that will truthfully help the Detroit community during a difficult time.
Lions Release Statement Regarding Social Injustice
Wednesday afternoon, the team put forth a statement to DetroitLions.com regarding what’s currently playing out in America. It read as follows:
“The painful examples of racism and social injustice reflected in the senseless deaths happening in our country are incredibly disturbing and it is clear that immediate change is necessary.
Over the last several days, it was important for our team to gather virtually so that the pain, confusion, anger and frustration that people are feeling could be shared as we attempt to process what is happening around us. This range of emotion has consumed the time we have spent together as a team this week. Our internal conversations have been powerful and emotional. We will continue to listen, support our players and learn as we press forward together.
Right is right and wrong is wrong. What is happening is not acceptable. We recognize that the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are only the most recent examples plaguing our communities. Our club vows to expand on the work already being done in the Detroit community – through real action and conversation – to help our team make an impact in areas of great need. We have a duty to lead these conversations now and always, but it is equally if not more important that we continue to LISTEN. The events over the past week are a hurtful reminder that we have a long way to go with inclusion, diversity and equality for all people.
We have a responsibility to create positive change.”
With the Lions, now all 4 of Detroit’s major sports teams have released strong takes on the situation currently taking place in America and the need for change.
By assisting this event and participating in it with pride, the Lions are putting their money and time where their mouth is and committing to real change.