Indianapolis Colts

Colts head coach Frank Reich kneels, players stand for National Anthem in Jacksonville

(WISH Photo/Charlie Clifford)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WISH) — The Indianapolis Colts on Sunday continued their fight for racial justice in Jacksonville, Florida, ahead of their matchup with the Jaguars.

Head coach Frank Reich knelt for the National Anthem as teammates, players and coaches stood behind him with arms locked in unison.

“Today our football team made a statement on behalf of the Black communities in our state of Indiana; but also on behalf of all Black communities from where our players and coaches call home,” said the team in a statement posted on their official Twitter page.

The team has said they will continue to fight for racial justice. In August the Colts canceled practice to focus on a discussion aimed at working to make a lasting social impact and inspire change in the community.

“Our statement today and going forward expresses that we will not merely speak out against racism, but we will demonstrate our convictions with consistent action to support and uplift our Black communities,” the statement read.

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The Colts in August joined a number of other professional athletic organizations in protest of the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake.

You can read Sunday’s full statement below:

Today our football team made a statement on behalf of the Black communities in our state of Indiana; but also on behalf of all Black communities from where our players and coaches call home. Our intent is to bring attention to the issue of systemic racism and the injustice inherit therein. We also wanted to demonstrate a symbolic gesture of how we believe meaningful change happens.

TO BE CLEAR – we were not protesting the flag, the anthem, or the men and women who wear the uniform. The timing of this action is meant to highlight that the presence, power, and oppression of racism remains inconsistent with the unity and freedoms of what it means to be an American. 

Our Black communities feel the weight of this issue and they are hurting. Our statement today and going forward expresses that we will not merely speak out against racism, but we will demonstrate our convictions with consistent action to support and uplift our Black communities.

Our statement included the two-fold symbolic gesture of stepping forward and kneeling: 

On stepping forward: Making significant progress to end racism requires all of us to step forward. More specifically, it requires white leaders stepping forward to bring about real change to eliminate discrimination and equal the playing field in all areas, such as housing, education, and law enforcement. The changes we need are not short-term fixes. Rather, they are system changes that will have generational impact.

On kneeling: It is not a posture of defiance but rather one of humility – taken by the White community – to acknowledge the injustice and inequality that is present, and to find the courage and resolve to make the changes needed.

The team standing and locking arms is symbolic of our unity and strength. We desire to stand with and for each other and for our Black communities in the fight for justice and equality. 

Join us. We will not be silent; we will not be neutral; we will not be passive!

The Indianapolis Colts

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