Among other signatures on the letter are NFL quarterback Drew Brees, New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton and NBA championship-winning coaches Steve Kerr (Golden State) and Gregg Popovich (San Antonio)
Last Updated: 10/06/20 10:24pm
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady was among more than 1,400 people across America’s biggest sports leagues who signed a letter sent by the Players Coalition to the US Congress calling for an end to police immunity.
The current and former athletes and coaches from the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball want to eliminate a legal doctrine that protects police officers from being sued for illegal and unconstitutional acts.
The letter was sent as cities across the United States are in turmoil over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 after pleading for his life as a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.
“We have engaged in too many ‘listening sessions’ where we discuss whether there is a problem of police violence in this country. There is a problem,” the Players Coalition wrote.
“The time for debate about the unchecked authority of the police is over; it is now time for change.”
Among the other signatures on the letter are NFL quarterback Drew Brees, New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton and NBA championship-winning coaches Steve Kerr (Golden State) and Gregg Popovich (San Antonio).
The Players Coalition asks Congress to pass the “Ending Qualified Immunity Act”, which was introduced by Representatives Justin Amash and Ayanna Pressley and would allow civil lawsuits against police.
“It is time for Congress to eliminate qualified immunity and it can do so by passing the Amash-Pressley Bill,” the Players Coalition wrote.
“When police officers kill an unarmed man, when they beat a woman, or when they shoot a child, the people of this country must have a way to hold them accountable in a court of law.”
Statue of former Panthers owner removed from outside stadium
A statue of former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has been removed from the spot where it stood outside the team’s stadium for nearly 25 years.
Millions have taken part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the world following the death of George Floyd with many statues and monuments linked to racism coming in for criticism for their prominence.
In December 2017, Richardson announced he was putting the team up for sale after a Sports Illustrated report, citing unidentified sources, said he made sexually suggestive comments to women and at least on one occasion directed a racial slur at an African American team scout.
The report stated that the settlements in the case against Richardson came with non-disclosure requirements forbidding the parties from discussing the details. The league also fined Richardson $2.75m over the allegations of misconduct.
A Carolina Panthers statement read: “We were aware of the most recent conversation surrounding the Jerry Richardson statue and are concerned there may be attempts to take it down. We are moving the statue in the interest of public safety.
Richardson and his ownership group paid $206m in 1993 for an expansion team and had been the team’s only owner until David Tepper paid $2.2bn for the club in 2018.
NASCAR bans Confederate flags
NASCAR has banned Confederate flags from its races and properties, saying the flag runs contrary to their commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans.
Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s lone black driver, called this week for the banishment of the Confederate flag and said there was no place for them in the sport.
Wallace asked the stock car series with deep ties to the South to formally distance itself from what for millions is a symbol of slavery and racism.
The move was announced before Wednesday night’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Wallace was set to drive a Chevrolet with a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme.