One of the common, constant refrains voiced by critics of NFL players protesting during the national anthem is this: “What are the players doing other than just kneeling?”
The Chicago Bears have an answer. On Tuesday, several Bears players announced that the team will donate $500,000 to local social justice causes. Players are contributing half, and the NFL is matching it for the total. The Bears will also match anything above that $250,000 total. While the team hasn’t yet selected the causes, team leaders indicated that they will focus on education, criminal justice reform and building positive relationships between police and the communities they serve.
Hicks: "We're all in."#Bears players & ownership are committing more than $500,000 to local social justice programs, becoming the first team to maximize the NFL’s new social justice initiative. The committee spearheading the cause sits down to discuss why it’s important. pic.twitter.com/p5HDFLU0j8
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 18, 2018
The Bears are the first team to take advantage of the league’s plan that calls for matches of up to $250,000 in player donations for social justice initiatives. As team officials and players have noted, the Bears have taken multiple off-field steps to address matters of inequality. Team members have visited prisons, ridden along with the Chicago police department, read with children in classrooms and visited Chicago crime labs to learn more about the challenges that face both communities and the police.
“Not only do we want to do stuff in the community,” linebacker Sam Acho said, “we want to put our money behind it.”
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