Billy Turner: “No nervousness” in Packers conversations about racism

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The Packers offensive line didn’t discuss blocking assignments or other football matters when they gathered online for last week’s meetings.

As with many other meetings around the league, the focus for the Packers linemen was to provide time and space for players to discuss their experiences with racism. Black players like guard Billy Turner, tackle Yosh Nijman and guard Elgton Jenkins shared with white teammates in sessions that Turner said were smooth because of the closeness of the group.

“There was no nervousness,” Turner said, via Olivia Reiner of PackersNews.com. “There was no thought that the conversation would go in a negative way by any means because I’m fairly close with a lot of the guys in the room. I know their personalities and I know the things that they enjoy, the things that they find passion in. Just getting to know those guys over the past year, it’s very evident to me that they care about other people. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin. It doesn’t matter where you come from. We’re all part of one team and one organization.”

The content flowed both ways as offensive line coach Adam Stenavich shared his experience growing up in a part of Wisconsin without much diversity and how he had to adjust once he got to college.

“When I was listening to him speak, I’m trying to put myself in his shoes,” Nijman said. “We’re trying to understand where he was coming from because his story is also important. Although a lot of other African American people will say well, our story is the most important, which I do believe, but as a people though, everyone should try to put each other in each other’s shoes.”

Listening to others has been a popular and significant piece of advice over the last couple of weeks. It will continue to be important as the NFL and the country as a whole move forward with an eye on tackling some of the problems that have plagued the United States for years.

8 responses to “Billy Turner: “No nervousness” in Packers conversations about racism

  1. “…Adam Stenavich shared his experience growing up in a part of Wisconsin without much diversity and how he had to adjust once he got to college.”

    Exactly the same here. By the age of 10, we’re taught in Elementary Schools 1) Slavery is bad 2) Lincoln abolished slavery 3) Jim Crow laws were instituted and then 4) MLK came along, gave a speech, everyone gets along now, and that’s about it for black history. Growing up in an area where you don’t experience much diversity, or for that matter, racism, it’s just not one of the many issues you think the world still has. However, most of us ‘non-racist, but not actively anti-racist’ people definitely sense there’s “something” wrong with society, but the past 2 weeks have really opened up my eyes on things. I’ll keep learning.

  2. The Green Bay Packer – once again a shining beacon of light while setting the gold standard for organizational behavior.

  3. I’m glad to hear that my life long favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, are taking positive, sensible action, and are out front of this issue as well as can be expected. It is the damage and injury caused to people who were only trying to make a living and support their families that is unacceptable. But the people behind those people are the real scary ones.

  4. rtrudelluwm says:
    June 8, 2020 at 9:09 am
    “…Adam Stenavich shared his experience growing up in a part of Wisconsin without much diversity and how he had to adjust once he got to college.”

    Exactly the same here. By the age of 10, we’re taught in Elementary Schools 1) Slavery is bad 2) Lincoln abolished slavery 3) Jim Crow laws were instituted and then 4) MLK came along, gave a speech, everyone gets along now, and that’s about it for black history. Growing up in an area where you don’t experience much diversity, or for that matter, racism, it’s just not one of the many issues you think the world still has. However, most of us ‘non-racist, but not actively anti-racist’ people definitely sense there’s “something” wrong with society, but the past 2 weeks have really opened up my eyes on things. I’ll keep learning.
    ———————————————–

    Well said. I actually grew up in a diverse city with a large African American population. But, the city was still so segregated that at any given time we have 1-2 black students in each 30 person class I attended. Similar to you, we were taught about slavery and the Civil Rights movement, however it was always implied the racism was a thing of the past, and as a young child the Civil Rights marches of 30-40 years ago seemed like an eternity. Although I knew of the KKK and Neo Nazi’s still existing, it always seem more like tabloid fodder than real life. It wasn’t until college that I both learned from black friends how scary a traffic stop can be, and alternately heard frat guys using N-words casually like it was no big deal that I realized how sheltered I was. Since then I’ve tried to educate myself and become an ally, but its now obvious to me that all I did was talk and post social pictures explaining how woke I was, I wasn’t pushing for change, and I was merely patting myself on the back. Some need to finally listen for the first time, but so many more of us that already have need to act for once. Equality shouldn’t be a half to be a dream anymore, and empathy shouldn’t be so rare.

  5. I admit after hearing some experiences of a black coworker, that I have been naive to the extent of racism that still exists. It was helpful to me to hear, it put current events into clearer focus.

  6. h0metownzero says:
    June 8, 2020 at 9:25 am
    The Green Bay Packer – once again a shining beacon of light while setting the gold standard for organizational behavior.
    _____________________________________________

    I am a Packer fan, and you are way off the road here. Green Bay does not have a good racial reputation. We have much to learn.

  7. 49fromwi says:
    June 8, 2020 at 11:11 am
    I am a Packer fan, and you are way off the road here. Green Bay does not have a good racial reputation. We have much to learn.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    No city or state anywhere in the United States has a good racial reputation. The question is; “Why has it seemingly gotten so much worse in such a short period of time?”

    Look no further than the White House for your answer. Remember it in November.

  8. I grew up 10 minutes from Lambeau and have the same experience as Adam S. From K-12 there was never a black person in one of my classes. We learned the history and felt for them, but had zero experience. Racism was never part of growing up nor was it discussed among my family. The only black people I had met at that point we’re Packer players. James Lofton was the first black man I ever met and we weren’t scared of him or racist towards him, we revered him. At the age of 19 we moved South and while there’s not enough space here to illustrate the differences between states, I can tell you it was very eye opening.

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