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Christopher Price

As protests continue, Boston’s pro sports teams step up with commitments to ending violence

Robert Kraft and the Patriots released a statement Tuesday that said, in part, "We don’t have the answers, but we do know that we want to be a part of the change."
Robert Kraft and the Patriots released a statement Tuesday that said, in part, "We don’t have the answers, but we do know that we want to be a part of the change."Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe

As protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd continued Tuesday on both the local and national stage, the Patriots, Bruins, and Red Sox added their voices to the chorus condemning Floyd’s death while simultaneously pushing for peace and inclusion. The Celtics had already released a team statement Sunday.

In a statement issued through the Patriots on Tuesday evening, the Kraft family said they were “horrified by the acts of racism” they had witnessed.

“Over the last several days, we have tried to listen, learn, and reflect,” the statement read in part. “We have been at a loss for the appropriate words, perhaps because there are none to adequately describe the horrific incidents of the last few weeks. It is impossible for us to comprehend what happened to George Floyd or the pain his family must be feeling, a pain that resonates with so many others who have lost loved ones in similar brutalities that were not captured on video for the rest of the world to see.

“We cannot begin to understand the frustration and fear members of our Black community have faced for generations. Recent events have shined a light on a topic that demands much more attention.

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“Our country deeply needs healing. We don’t have the answers, but we do know that we want to be a part of the change. As leaders in the New England community, we must speak up. Here is where our family, and our organization, stands:

“We are horrified by the acts of racism we’ve witnessed. 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.”

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The Bruins issued a similar statement via social media Tuesday, saying in part that “bigotry, ignorance, and senseless violence in any and all forms is wrong.”

“We are a hockey club and sometimes it is hard to know when, where, and how to comment on issues that challenge the freedom and well-being of our community. We want to be honest and we want to be accountable and we want to be leaders,” it read.

“The abhorrent murder of George Floyd and similar events cannot be tolerated. We want to be part of change and we will lead with our actions. That has always started with treating all people with dignity and respect.”

On a picture posted to social media Tuesday, the Red Sox spelled out their support on the left-field scoreboard with the message “Black Lives Matter.” In addition, there was a statement from Red Sox president/CEO Sam Kennedy in a note posted to the team’s Twitter account:

“I have been struggling to find the right words to express the profound anguish, outrage, and confusion we are all feeling in the wake of the heartbreaking incidents that have occurred across the country over the past few months,” Kennedy wrote.

“The senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are stark reminders that racism and police brutality continue to be pervasive in America. I am proud of our teammates who peacefully protested on Sunday. Each of you helped shine a spotlight on injustice and used your voice to advocate for change. Please know we stand with you.

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“Over the past few days, I spent time connecting with many of you and listening to your perspectives. I am so grateful to my teammates who consistently remind me that the Red Sox have an obligation to amplify the voices of those who share our values, but do not share our platform. Silence in the face of injustice is unacceptable.

“Thank you for your support of each other during these challenging times. Our work continues.”

Many of the Celtics have remained in the forefront of the protests. Jaylen Brown traveled to Georgia to participate, while Enes Kanter, Marcus Smart, and Vincent Poirier were part of local demonstrations. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Tuesday he praised the work of the players, saying he wrote them a letter.

“It took me a while to put down exactly what I wanted to say, but I think the thing I wanted them to know is that every decent person is hurting,” Stevens said on a Zoom conference call. “Every decent person feels the pain of the African-American community, but I also don’t want to pretend like I know the exact distinct pain. What I wanted them to know is I’m with them and I thought that was really important and it’s so great to see so many guys so active.”


Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.