James White: Patriots ‘will figure something out as a team’ to peacefully protest on game days

Andy Hart
June 11, 2020 - 1:49 pm
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Much like the Patriots’ recent virtual team meetings in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis cop, James White’s Thursday afternoon WebEx call with the local media had little to do with football.

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Instead, the Patriots captain fielded questions regarding racism, social injustice and the reinvigorated role NFL players have in the overall protests and tough conversations of our time.

One thing that White made quite clear is that he’s felt very much supported by the Patriots organization in recent weeks, including from head coach Bill Belichick.

“It’s awesome. Coach Belichick has an open mind. He understands everything that’s going on and some people are upset,” White said in response to a question about Rahsaan Hall, director of the racial justice program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, recently taking part in a Zoom session with the team. “He wanted to get a better grasp of things. We all wanted to get a better grasp of things. It’s very cool to have that to understand what’s going on and how different players may feel differently and kind of form a common ground.”

To open the meeting with the media, White was asked for his reaction to the NFL’s response to racism and issues facing the country, including Commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent video in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well has his fellow players speaking out more than in the past.

“I think everybody is trying to speak out a little bit more. A lot more people are getting comfortable letting everybody know how they feel,” White said. “I think that’s important. I know some people might not understand that racism and things of that nature still exist, but it does. The color of your skin unfortunately comes with different things in America. So just trying to raise people’s awareness, trying to make changes and it’s sad that things like the George Floyd situation have been going on year after year and time after time. So people have to be held accountable and some laws need to change, actions need to change. But it all starts with a conversation. I think all these people speaking up is only going to help.”

Looking both back to Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 kneeling that in many ways ignited discussions of race and racism in the NFL as well as ahead to the coming season, White made it clear that he and his teammates will likely find a way to continue to express themselves on game days this fall.

“I’m sure we’ll figure something out as a team,” White said. “I’m not sure exactly what that will be. But I’m sure guys will peacefully protest in some type of form or fashion.”

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