Detroit Lions' Bob Quinn, Rod Wood sign letter asking Congress to end qualified immunity

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn and team president Rod Wood are among more 1,400 current and former professional athletes, coaches and team personnel who signed a letter from the Players Coalition urging Congress to pass a bill ending qualified immunity.

The bill, introduced last week by U.S. Reps. Justin Amash, L-Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, would make it easier for citizens to sue police officers who violate their civil rights.

The legislation was a response to the death of George Floyd last month, when a Minneapolis police officer was caught on video kneeling on his neck.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder, and Floyd's death sparked protests across the country against police brutality and racial injustice.

"We are more than 1,400 current and former professional athletes and coaches from across the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball in America," the letter says. "We are tired of conversations around police accountability that go nowhere, and we have engaged in too many "listening sessions" where we discuss whether there is a problem of police violence in this country. There is a problem. The world witnessed it when Officer Chauvin murdered George Floyd, and the world is watching it now, as officers deploy enormous force on peaceful protesters like those who were standing outside of the White House last week. The time for debate about the unchecked authority of the police is over; it is now time for change."

Some of the biggest stars in football — including Tom Brady, Odell Beckham Jr., Drew Brees, Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz — signed the letter, as did New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

Along with Quinn and Wood, who are among more than 300 front office personnel included in the letter, Lions players Duron Harmon, Tracy Walker, David Blough, Austin Bryant and Tom Kennedy, and assistant coaches Steve Gregory, Brayden Coombs and Sean Ryan signed the letter.

Tigers utility man Niko Goodrum, former Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and ex-Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson also are among the names that appear.

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