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Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur: 'I want us to take action'

Players’ video just the start of team’s social activism

Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur

GREEN BAY – Matt LaFleur and the Packers put football on the back burner this past week.

In the team's virtual meetings, there were far more discussions about social injustice and other racial issues than X's and O's.

It culminated, at least for now, in the team releasing a two-minute video with a call for change, in the wake of George Floyd's and other blacks' deaths at the hands of police, which have been followed by protests and riots that have roiled the country.

LaFleur, who spoke with local media via Zoom from his Lambeau Field office late Friday afternoon, indicated there's a determination among everyone involved the team's activism won't stop there.

"I think these are conversations that have to happen," LaFleur said. "I think right now the football can take a back seat to that. I have no problem (with that).

"What I want to have happen, I want us to take action and really try to come up with things that we can do to make a change for the better for everyone in this country. That's what needs to happen."

LaFleur added the players and coaches have begun brainstorming actionable ideas, and their discussions will remain ongoing. Right now there's still a lot of talking and listening, and LaFleur said he wants to eventually have a one-on-one conversation with every player on the roster to get his input.

He mentioned a lot of players already have shared painful stories and "they've been hurting for years." Listening has been educational for him, and for others on the team as well.

"I do want to hear everybody, because everybody needs to have a voice," he said. "Not everybody has gone through the same experiences, and it is enlightening to hear our guys' stories. I just want to listen to them and see how I can be better for them.

"We're going to support our players. We're going to support them and what they want to do, provided that it's peaceful."

One future topic that already has come up is for the whole team to get more engaged in the voting process, and take the steps necessary with registration and possible absentee ballots to participate in November's election, which falls at midseason.

The video idea stemmed from a meeting of the team's leadership council, which wanted to do something "a little more powerful" than release a statement. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers provided a portion of the script and players recorded segments from their remote locations, with the team's in-house video department doing the editing and putting on the finishing touches.

"Everybody put a lot of work into it, a lot of thought, a lot of good thought," LaFleur said. "There was a lot of meaning behind it. I was really proud of our guys."

As of early Friday evening, the video had been viewed more than three million times across all of the Packers' social media accounts since being posted Thursday morning.

The team has certainly grabbed people's attention and wants to keep it. When the players reconvene for the season in the coming months, it sounds like they will have more to say and do.

"We have such an incredible platform, specifically in the National Football League, and a lot of people listen and they look up to our players," LaFleur said. "I'm just hopeful that the rest of society will listen to our players and be as invested as these guys are in this process."