The Kraft family, owners of the NFL’s New England Patriots, spoke out Tuesday against the death of George Floyd and other acts of racial injustice that have prompted nationwide protests in recent days.
“We are horrified by the acts of racism we've witnessed,” the Kraft family said in a statement released by the Patriots. “We are heartbroken for the families who have lost loved ones, and we are devastated for our communities of color, who are sad, who are exhausted, who are suffering. We know that none of the sadness, exhaustion or suffering is new. We know it is systemic. Our eyes, ears and hearts are open.”
Robert Kraft has owned the Patriots since 1994. His son, Jonathan Kraft, serves as team president. The Kraft family joined countless other sports figures, including many NFL executives, who have called for change in the days since Floyd’s death.
Floyd, 46, died last week in Minneapolis police custody. A bystander video showed a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for several minutes prior to his death.
Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide Monday night. The four officers directly involved in the incident were fired. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The incident prompted protests in cities around the country. Several NFL players and other professional athletes have participated in the marches.
“We will not rest on statements, because words without actions are void,” the Kraft family statement added. “Rather, we will work harder than ever before – through our philanthropy, community engagement, advocacy and supporting the work of our players – to build bridges, to promote equality, to stand up for what's right and to value ALL people.”
In a statement last Saturday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Floyd’s death highlighted an “urgent need for action” to address racial injustice.
"As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league,” Goodell said. “These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action.”