Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard avoided any discussion of football on Thursday during a conversation with reporters during a video conference.
Instead, Ballard delivered a passionate speech on racial equality and social injustice following protests across the country against police brutality.
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“I cannot stay here and remain silent, because that is exactly what we have done every time our black community screams and cries for help. We must end social injustice and racial inequality. We must end police violence against our black community, “said Ballard, according to a video shared by Athletic’s Zak Keefer.
“Black lives matter,” he said. “I don’t understand why it is so hard to say for the white community. Black lives count. I was ignorant. I ignored the real problem and am ashamed of it. I just realized that in the past 10 days, with really tough and difficult conversations we have had as an organization, as a team, with my family, with my sons, and I have ignored the real problem.
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“It is not a dark problem. It’s a white problem. This is a problem that we need to talk about and that we cannot coat with sugar. We cannot coat our way with this. We cannot go back to our bubble because that is what we have always done. We always went back to our bubble and never really listened. We did not listen. I did not listen. We did not listen as a country. White America refuses to listen. We want things to stay the same and this cannot or we will continue on the same paths as we continue. This has to change and nothing will change until we do. “
Ballard added that he thought he was doing things that hurt people in the past.
The CEO’s speech comes as NFL organizations try to fight racial injustice in the United States and find ways to bring about change.
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The introspection came days after the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25 after an officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes in an instant, filmed on a mobile phone. The four Minneapolis officers involved in the death were arrested.