Bill Belichick has not been one of the NFL head coaches to issue a statement or otherwise publicly comment on the issues of police brutality and systemic racism that have led to weeks of protest around the United States, but one prominent member of the team said he’s engaged on the topic.
Like most teams, the Patriots saw their team meetings shift from football to social matters for much of the last week and special teams ace Matthew Slater said that Belichick has been involved in those conversations.
“I think coach has a good, healthy understanding of the gravity of the situation and the times that we’re living in,” Slater said, via NBCSportsBoston.com. “I think he’s done a good job of trying to listen, trying to learn and hear from his players and try to navigate this as best as he can.
“Look, I understand what his job is. His job is to coach the football team and get the football team ready to be successful, and nothing’s going to take his focus away from that. But I do think that it’s important, as he has done, to hear from his players and understand that, ‘Hey, at the end of the day, football is temporary.’ What we’re left with is who we are as people, the values and beliefs and our experiences, and the results of those experiences. That’s what we’re going to be left with.
“So I’m sure that he’ll continue to be open and receptive to us having dialogue. I’m thankful for what he has done thus far as far as that process is concerned, and we’ll just see how it goes as we press forward.”
The last two weeks have seen major changes in the way the NFL has responded to these issues compared to when they came up in 2016 and 2017. What action will come from that remains to be seen, but it seems likely that players from New England and elsewhere are going to continue pushing for it inside and outside their organizations.