Current and former members of the Chicago Bears are not happy with Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, and they’re letting him know. The legendary Bears linebacker came under fire Thursday for his Instagram activity, which included ‘liking’ a post calling for the liberation of 17-year-old Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, who stands accused of first-degree intentional homicide after being identified on video shooting three people, and killing two during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin this week.
The protests took place after police shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake seven times. Blake, a black man, was unarmed when he was shot. A knife was found on the floor of the driver’s side of his vehicle, but it was not on him at the time he was shot, and authorities have yet to clarify whether police knew the knife was even there.
In protest of Blake’s shooting, NBA teams chose not to play their scheduled playoff games, which Urlacher seemingly took umbrage with. The ex-linebacker wrote the following on his Instagram story: “Brett Favre played the MNF game the day his dad died, threw 4 TDs in the first half, and was a legend for playing in the face of adversity. NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.”
Urlacher also liked a ‘Free Kyle Rittenhouse’ meme that showed a still image of the 17-year-old shooter carrying his gun into the protests in Kenosha. Twitter immediately jumped on Urlacher, criticizing his blind comparison of Favre losing his father by natural causes to rampant, systemic racism. Then, the Bears organization and Urlacher’s former teammates spoke up.
Bears Organization, Current Players, Distance Themselves From Urlacher’s Comments
Urlacher is entitled to his opinion, of course, just as those who hear or see it voiced are entitled to theirs. It became apparent quickly that the vast majority of current and former Bears are not in agreement with Urlacher’s sentiment, which the team made clear when they released a separate statement specifically addressing it.
“The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization,” the Bears organization said about Urlacher’s post in a statement given to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
Current Bears players also responded to Urlacher, and although they didn’t use his name directly, it was quite clear who they were referring to.
Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks tweeted the following, which was also retweeted by Khalil Mack and other teammates: “Everybody choosing sides, I don’t mind. It’s making it really clear who to be around and who to keep your distance from. Hurts ya heart. But as is life, right?”
Everybody choosing sides, I don’t mind. It’s making it really clear who to be around and who to keep your distance from. Hurts ya heart. But as is life right
— akiem hicks (@The_Dream99) August 27, 2020
Sherrick McManis, whose rookie year with the Bears in 2012 coincided with Urlacher’s final year with the team, tweeted this: “You should never put anyone on to high of a pedestal. Politicians, athletes, entertainers- No one. You may get disappointed.”
You never should put anyone on to high of a pedestal. Politicians, Athletes, Entertainers- No one. You may get disappointed
— Sherrick (@SherrickM) August 27, 2020
Several of Urlacher’s Ex-Teammates Also Call Him Out
Some of Urlacher’s former teammates also weighed in, with ex-Bears running back Matt Forte the most vocal among them, addressing Urlacher and his Instagram activity directly.
Forte tweeted the following, which was also retweeted by Lance Briggs, Urlacher’s fellow linebacker who played alongside him for 10 years.
“The comment @BUrlacher54 posted is void of empathy, compassion, wisdom and coherence. But full of pride and ignorance! I pray for those who have been blinded by their wealth, privilege and earthly flame that breeds arrogance in their hearts. And those who refuse to acknowledge racism and injustice but instead choose to place their energy into justifying it by quickly judging the victims life as if they themselves are more valuable because their sins are different or weren’t caught by man… but God sees all. End racism and injustice #byanymeansnecessary.”
Acknowledge racism and injustice but instead choose to place their energy into justifying it by quickly judging the victims life as if they themselves are more valuable because their sins are different or weren’t caught by man… but God sees all
— Matt Forte (@MattForte22) August 28, 2020
Briggs retweeting this is huge. The two linebackers were a formidable duo for a decade, and they were close — Urlacher thanked him in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech — but it appears as though Urlacher’s comments have caused a divide, with the franchise and several of its most prominent players taking a stand against them.
Walter Payton’s son, Jarrett, who works as an anchor and analyst for WGN, didn’t play with the Bears, but he also weighed in, tweeting: “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.” Bears running back Tarik Cohen retweeted him.
When someone shows you who they are…believe them. #RealTalk
— Jarrett Payton (@paytonsun) August 27, 2020
Whatever political opinions exist on this current Bears team, they certainly appear to be more united than ever.
I love the unity we have as a team, staff and organization
— Eddie Jackson (@BoJack39) August 27, 2020
Alone we are nothing, Together we are everything !!!!!
— David Montgomery (@MontgomerDavid) August 27, 2020