On a historic holiday for the black community, multiple Miami Dolphins players have joined their team in celebrating Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. More than two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, the news reached Galveston, Texas, the last state for slaves to find out that they were free. On this day 164 years ago, slavery officially ceased across America.
Today, we celebrate and recognize #Juneteenth, as slavery came to an end in the United States.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) June 19, 2020
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The Dolphins on Black Lives Matter
The events of the past month in protest of police brutality have brought out significant support from the Miami Dolphins team. Several players, including safety Kavon Frazier, have marched in protests, and others, like Christian Wilkins, have shared personal stories.
Head coach Brian Flores has come out in support of his players’ right to protest, and in a recent Zoom press conference, actively diverted the media as far away from football topics as possible, in an effort to keep the conversation focused on the tragic death of George Floyd. He actively called out white silence the week before, in a statement released through the official Miami Dolphins social media.
Statement from Head Coach Brian Flores. pic.twitter.com/dJOdHHSvNT
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 29, 2020
“Most recently, I’ve had conversations about incentivizing teams or hiring minorities. Again, there was some outrage in the media and talks that this would cause division amongst coaches, executives and ownership. I bring these situations up because I haven’t seen the same OUTRAGE from people of influence when the conversations turns to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and most recently George Floyd,” Flores wrote. “Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don’t seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women.”
Recognition From the Team
On this Juneteenth, the first year that society at large has made an active effort to recognize the holiday, the Dolphins organization posted a video featuring Jakeem Grant, Adrian Colbert, and Josh Rosen discussing the history and importance of Juneteenth.
"I feel like the change that can possibly happen with more people talking about it, having these type of conversations, will create more opportunities."@_thedreamishere, @AdrianColbert27 and @josh3rosen discuss #Juneteenth. pic.twitter.com/TqmrsiMBk4
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) June 19, 2020
Quarterback Rosen said that he had heard of the event in passing, but needed to do his own research to discover its significance. Colbert, a Texas native himself, shared that he did not learn about Juneteenth in his schooling until his college years.
“This is our independence day. This is the day that we were freed,” Grant said. “Our ancestors went through hell until they got to this day.”
#HappyJuneteenth to all my beautiful people!!
— Robert Hunt (@RobertHandyHunt) June 19, 2020
Happy Juneteenth, let’s all take this day to educate ourselves further! 🖤
— Isaiah Ford (@IAF_1) June 19, 2020
Happy Juneteenth to all my brothers & sisters ✊🏾 May GOD continue to guide us on this fight to true FREEDOM & EQUALITY 💙 pic.twitter.com/6B7TsUOtPZ
— The Peloton Don (@AdrianColbert27) June 19, 2020
Additionally, many players have posted recognition on their own social media platforms. Among other players who have posted uniquely include Shaq Lawson, Raekwon McMillan, Isaiah Ford, Robert Hunt, Colbert, and Grant.
An Education Under the Sunday Night Lights
Hard Rock Stadium has recently opened its doors to the Miami community and Dolphins fans to enjoy re-run showings of past Super Bowls and films, drive-in and open-air movie theatre style. On Friday night, attendees will view the film “Selma,” which recounts Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march through Alabama in 1965. The event’s ticket sales will benefit the local Miami organizations Breakthrough Miami and the Urban League of Broward County.
The NFL has attempted to make amends for their transgressions in recent weeks as well, having previously suppressed black players in protest. Recently, the league has promised $250 million over the next 10 years to combat racism and support the Black Lives Matter movement in multiple incarnations.
The Dolphins facilities opened to players rehabbing injuries, as well as coaches and trainers deemed necessary. On Friday, the facilities remained open, but provided educational opportunities that allow for participation in conversations about the large racial and social issues that currently plague the nation.