Falcons owner Arthur Blank called for unity Saturday, a day after racial tensions boiled over in Atlanta.
The senseless death of George Floyd by a former Minneapolis police officer led to protests across the nation, including in Atlanta, where a peaceful protest turned violent Friday night. The CNN building was defaced, and the College Football Hall of Fame was damaged.
Blank said in his statement he hopes some good comes from the events of this week, leading to “productive action and lasting, positive change.”
“A number of events over the last couple of weeks have reminded us again that the long, worthy quest for equal justice, civility and unity in America is far from over,” Blank said. “People are scared and in pain. Their frustration is real, and it must be acknowledged and addressed. More must be done to address systemic racism. More must be done to address the underlying issues that have led to these incidents across the country. More must be done to bring people together through meaningful change.
“The public discourse on these and other issues is too divisive, too political. These are not political issues, they are human issues that need serious, earnest attention from leaders and citizens alike who understand that diversity is our strength and fair treatment is everyone’s right. Open, honest dialogue is needed on a much greater scale. It is my hope that we take this terrible moment in our history to elevate that conversation toward productive action and lasting, positive change. Peaceful protests of the past have led to new ways forward. Lawlessness, vandalism and intentionally upending the peace with any form of violence has never been productive and is not the answer. We must not accept or condone violence in any way. And to be sure, Atlanta is better than what we saw in the actions of a few last night.
“Together we will rise above this on the strength of what has always made Atlanta great – its people, its leaders of past and present and its unique culture that is welcoming to all. Our Family Foundation and the rest of our businesses here in Atlanta and elsewhere remain committed to being part of the solution.”