CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns started their practice a bit different than normal on Sunday by promising to fight social injustice.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski, quarterback Baker Mayfield, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and wide receiver Jarvis Landry, joined together to share the team's plan to combat racial inequality.
The team released the following statement:
“We stand in solidarity with all the people within our country who are making the commitment, effort and sacrifice necessary to demand and work towards positive change for the Black community. Over the last five days, our team has elevated our engagement on important, deep dialogue that began earlier this offseason. We have expressed frustration, anger and dismay over the continued struggles and tragedy that are rooted in racism. It has to stop. While we understand and appreciate our unique platform to raise awareness, we believe it is the duty of every American to peacefully stand up, speak out and address injustice, especially those resulting from racial inequities and ending in violence as in the cases of Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, David Dorn, Rayshard Brooks, Jacob Blake and far too many others. We cannot be comfortable with any more sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and beloved family members being added to this list. Bringing light and awareness to these issues and incidents is an important first step, but that alone is not nearly enough and for true, meaningful change; it comes down to the actions we take. The players on this team along with the support of ownership and the entire Browns organization are committed to action to Be The Solution.
Through thoughtful dialogue with the Players Coalition, we have identified the following areas we will work on to become an instrument for change: 1) Education – expand on the work of the Cleveland Browns Foundation by improving resource equity and focusing on closing the digital divide; 2) Police Reform and Accountability – engage law enforcement and elected officials to better understand why cops who abuse their power and commit crimes are not arrested and found guilty, support legislation that ends qualified immunity, holds law enforcement accountable and addresses the topic of standardized police training and oversight while also supporting the noble police officers who honorably fulfill their roles by properly serving their community; 3) Economic Advancement and Community Support – continue our work to positively impact underserved, primarily black neighborhoods by empowering the community through supporting black-owned businesses, improving neighborhood interconnectivity and unity, and helping with basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter; 4) Non-Partisan Voter Registration, Education and Turn Out – help eliminate voter suppression, encourage everyone, starting with ourselves, to actively participate in the democratic process through voting while educating and encouraging our community to take action and participate.
You will see a specific focus in the form of concrete action by our organization, players, staff and ownership in these areas within Cleveland and Northeast Ohio to spur positive, necessary change. This work is critical and we encourage everyone to join us in addressing these issues that continue to hold the Black community and our entire nation back from fully realizing the ideals it was founded upon: equal rights and justice for all.”
Baker Mayfield,Larry Ogunjobi and Jarvis Landry (surrounded by team) talking to friends and family in attendance saying Browns stand with all those looking to stop social injustice in the country #WEWS pic.twitter.com/SXQMHm5rHz— Derek Forrest (@DerekFSpx) August 30, 2020
Last week, Cleveland's three major professional sports teams—Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Browns— joined forces to create a sports alliance to address social injustice throughout the city of Cleveland and communities in Northeast Ohio.
The sports alliance’s main goal is to develop a sustainable and direct strategy to address social injustice by improving the relationship between law enforcement and its citizens, encouraging nonpartisan voting activities and increasing the quality of educational opportunities for everyone.