Packers postpone media interviews in support of #BlackoutTuesday

Ryan Wood
Packers News
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A makeshift memorial for George Floyd includes mural cards and flowers near the spot where he died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

GREEN BAY - In observance of #BlackoutTuesday, the Green Bay Packers took the rare step of postponing two scheduled media interviews.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari and inside linebacker Christian Kirksey were scheduled for 20-minute Zoom calls with reporters Tuesday afternoon. About 45 minutes before Bakhtiari’s call was to begin, the team said that both his and Kirksey’s calls were postponed indefinitely.

The postponements came as #BlackoutTuesday trended on social media. The movement was designed to shutter social media activity for a day of reflection on the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police last week, and promote policy changes regarding police brutality. tweeted a blank, black box with the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers joined in with a darkened Instagram post.

The Packers were joined by other NFL teams in observing #BlackoutTuesday, among them the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. The Bears also canceled team meetings Tuesday, Pro Football Talk reported. 

“It’s a sensitive subject for a lot of people, but I think it’s something that needs to be more than just talked about," Packers safety Adrian Amos said last week of the protests over racial inequality that developed after Floyd's death. "We need to start coming up with different solutions to avoid situations where, you know, people are losing their lives.”

Around the NFL, coaches and players have been lending their voices to raise awareness of racism and police brutality. Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich gave an impassioned statement denouncing racism before speaking with reporters Monday.

Vikings linebackers Erik Kendricks and Anthony Barr were critical of an NFL statement that was issued regarding Floyd’s death. In the statement, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was "greatly saddened by the tragic events" and offered condolences to Floyd's family, while pledging future but unspecified action on behalf of the league.

“@NFL what actual steps are you taking to support the fight for justice and system reform?” both players tweeted. “Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you’re ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means.”

Kendricks tweeted that the Vikings had opened a dialogue with players and that they were "working toward solutions."

The Packers have also had internal dialogue. On Monday, offensive linemen Billy Turner and Yosh Nijman addressed teammates in a virtual meeting. Center Corey Linsley issued a statement on Twitter after the conversation that read in part:

“IMHO there are a few important things that we can all do as Americans to help change our country for the better when it comes to the issues surrounding George Floyd’s murder, Breanna Taylor’s murder, and so on.

“The first is acknowledge that change to the system is needed. We can’t allow our politicians and corporations to continually support a system that protects bad cops all the way from SCOTUS precedent to our local police force. Growing up, I had friends and classmates whose fathers were police officers. I haven’t known one of them to be a bad cop. They didn’t need the system to protect them, they just did their jobs. You don’t have to be anti-cop to support change, and just because you support change doesn’t mean you’re against police officers. When it comes to voting, support is needed for politicians who support criminal justice reform, regardless of what side of the aisle they’re on. It’s not an understatement to say that people’s lives are at stake. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue to want to bring justice to the people who deserve it, regardless of what their job title is, their race, or how much money they have. There’s a lot that goes into criminal justice reform, but holding bad cops accountable for their actions is one of those things.”

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