Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia saw the news of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota roll in as most folks did and he was running the gamut of thoughts just like every other American.
How could this happen? What could he say, and more importantly, what to do? As coach of the Lions, Patricia is in a unique spot as leader of a locker room and a team given players look to him for guidance. That was true even as the coach was struggling to make sense of what he saw so much he couldn’t sleep or perhaps find the right words.
Patricia opened up to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated in a piece and explained what he felt after seeing the video that has haunted the world, while explaining how the team has been taking the news.
“Honestly, I was just disgusted, angry, sad, depressed,” Patricia said. “The range of emotion, you watch the video, someone being murdered and you’re like … I didn’t even know how to process it. And the range of emotion I know I felt in watching that was only one-tenth of a fraction of a minute percent of what my players must’ve been feeling. So when I got up on Friday, I didn’t sleep much. I’d been grinding on stuff all night, it was just, ‘This isn’t right.’”
As Patricia also told Breer, it was on him as the coach to set the tone after that moment and he did so simply by listening to his players and opening the floor up to them while letting the conversation dictate where everybody goes next. As he said, the meeting was little about football and more about life.
“It was just about listening and making sure we tried to get on and open it up for conversation, real conversation, truthful conversation, honest conversation, heartfelt conversation,” Patricia said. “And really, honestly, credit to my players for leading that. They’re the ones that really were able to get it to where it became so powerful.”
In the staff meeting and the team meeting, there was a diversity of race, age, and regional and socioeconomic backgrounds that allowed everyone to bring something.”
Patricia said in the piece the time is not right to talk football, and that is a true revelation. Everyone will have something on their chest and will want to clear the air, and this experience could impact players for days and weeks into the future. Letting the team control where
Truthfully, the team should be thankful to have a leader like Patricia in this moment who is more prepared to listen than talk. That is significant and important at a tough moment in history.
David Blough Tweets Desire to Learn, Grow
Blough, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota and also in the aftermath of seeing the demonstrations that have swept the country, admits that he wants to start the process of healing by listening and understanding.
As Blough also said, he’s prepared to fight for the rights of the oppressed and also shared that he has love for anyone and everyone who reads what he has to say.
Blough’s comments are open, honest and just the type of thing that needs to be seen in America at this point in time in order to get over the hump of the issues that are faced as a society. Credit to him for stating his desire to listen and help in the change that can hopefully come.
Tyrell Crosby’s Powerful Statement About Protests
Blough hasn’t been the only player from Detroit making powerful statements regarding everything playing out. Offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby, who has been vocal about the need for change and the power of protest on social media, was frustrated by the direction the events took when many turned violent overnight. While Crosby strongly believes the peaceful protests and demonstrations are needed, he took to Twitter to admonish those who are needlessly destroying property and hijacking such events to do senseless damage, saying it does more harm than good to the overall message.
Protests across the nation over the weekend turned violent as the sun went down all over the country, but a few communities in the state which Crosby works were hit particularly hard. Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan had rough Saturday nights with multiple fires set, windows broken and businesses looted and vandalized. Things seem to have calmed in both places overall, but plenty of damage has been done.
Crosby also shared a great take in a thread he posted on Twitter, capturing perfectly the feelings many African Americans have with regards to police interactions.
Obviously, Crosby’s message is simple. Things have to change in a big way, but mixing additional violence with that message to achieve the goal is hardly the answer.
Having Patricia at the helm to steer his players through an unprecedented situation might prove to be a huge advantage in the end.