Speaking after the team had their demonstration in front of the facility, Stafford said that he has never been more proud to be a member of the team than in this moment.
Stafford explained and lauded his coach in the process:
“Probably never more of an offseason and a day today that I’ve been proud to be a part of this team and do what I do. It’s an incredible group of guys that we have in this locker room led by a coach who is unwavering in his ability to give us space to talk. I’ve talked about it all offseason. On our Zoom calls it was incredible, what an incredible offseason we had with conversations about everything that’s going on in America at the moment. We had another one (Tuesday) and spent all morning talking about it. You gotta give a ton of credit to coach for allowing us to do this. Incredible, incredible guys on this team. Never been more proud to be a part of it. Just to be somebody there to help and listen.”
Stafford has been touched in a huge way by the experiences of his teammates, and recently launched his own social justice initiative at the University of Georgia. For Stafford, it’s all about doing the right thing and he sees a team and staff that are doing that right now.
Lions Cancelled Tuesday Practice
Tuesday morning, the Lions were going to practice as usual, but things ended up being delayed. In the end, it was not business as usual. The team ended up canceling practice as a result of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin after a passionate team meeting on the subject.
Here’s the video of the team coming out together to speak, and revealing the message of “We can’t go on” and “We won’t be silent.” The sentiments were scrawled on a couple of dry erase boards that were wheeled out.
During the event, several players spoke including Duron Harmon, Trey Flowers and Taylor Decker. The consensus? The Lions want to win football games, but they also want to contribute to changing the world for the better.
Speaking passionately, Duron Harmon, Trey Flowers and Taylor Decker shared their vision and explained it’s on teams to have a unified approach and the Lions want to be the team moving the conversation forward in order to help make change in America.
Blake was shot multiple times by the police after an incident in Wisconsin over the weekend, and as of now it has been revealed by his father that he is paralyzed from the waist down currently. This incident will be the one the Lions try to galvanize around in order to send the message that the world must change.
Duron Harmon Credits Matt Patricia for Lions Leadership
Harmon thinks that Lions head coach Matt Patricia deserves a ton of credit for the team’s unified and positive response to the ongoing nationwide discussion. As he said in a recent interview with DetroitLions.com, Patricia should be praised for his handling of the situation and his allowing for the team to share their viewpoints openly and putting football on the back burner for the time being.
“I believe we’ve been going a lot deeper than some other teams. Obviously I can’t speak for other teams, I’m just speaking off the experiences we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve had conversations each and every day last week. Matty P did a great job brining attention to the team last Friday. He’s given us an opportunity as black men to express our frustrations and for our white brothers in there, to give an opportunity to learn what we go through. Give them experiences that we went through because some people are oblivious, right wrong or indifferent. It’s been really powerful.”
According to Harmon, the reason the team has been able to have such discussions is Patricia setting the tone at the top and letting the players dictate the conversation and where it goes.
“(It starts) with the leadership of Matty P. We started phase 3 last week but with everything going on, how can you truly focus on football? I think he understood that and we were appreciative of that as a team,” Harmon said. “It’s been great conversations from top to bottom. We’ve been able to grow as a team. At the end of the day, this is a team sport and if you can truly commit to each other and love each other no matter your race, gender, anything, that’s how a team really creates a brotherhood and the wins will come off of that.”
Plenty of Lions have spoken out powerfully following a week of discussions and Patricia himself admitted the events have touched him deeply. That’s led to a situation where the team has come together in a very powerful way.
As Harmon said, what Patricia has done could only bring the team together tighter ahead of the 2020 season. Stafford would likely agree in a major way.
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