Created: August 28, 2020 04:51 PM
For the first time since 2019's regular season finale, the Vikings were back at U.S. Bank Stadium on Friday. They held a 'dress rehearsal' in lieu of preseason games, then players discussed where they stand in pro sports' push for social justice initiatives.
Click the video box on this page to watch Vikings players Ameer Abdullah, Kyle Rudolph and Anthony Harris address the team's two-hour long players meeting on Thursday that allowed them to have a conversation about the current state of social justice issues and what they hope their role may be going forward
After a practice-style workout, the team ran through a scrimmage while crowd noise was piped in through the speakers in the Vikings home stadium.
Volume levels in the stadium were well below the usual din a crowd of over 60-thousand fans generates, but still filled the silent void that would otherwise be present when games are played this coming season without fans.
Following the session, players gathered in an end zone while representatives of the team's Social Justice Committee took turns at the microphone.
Ameer Abdullah, Kyle Rudolph and Anthony Harris discussed a players-only team meeting on Thursday. Several NFL teams chose to cancel practice Thursday, taking cues from players in the NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB who voted not to play games in support of social justice awarness.
The Vikings opted to practice, but emerged from their morning meeting saying the conversation was immensely beneficial and powerful for everyone present.
Shortly after the team's session at U.S. Bank Stadium was complete, Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf released a statement in support of their players' involvement in the social justice movement.
"We wholeheartedly support the message Vikings players delivered from U.S. Bank Stadium today and continue to be proud of how they are using their platform to productively and peacefully bring awareness to critical issues of racism and injustice with the goal of creating transformational change. We are angered and distressed by the continued horrendous acts of violence against members of the Black community, most recently the shooting of Jacob Blake. Together with the players, we are committed to taking action in three initial areas: 1) urging citizens to use their right to vote and increasing voter education and registration; 2) supporting the adoption of impactful educational curriculum on racism and Black history; and 3) advocating for law enforcement and criminal justice reform. These are not political issues but rather societal issues, and they cannot be transformed through sports alone. We will work to create further opportunities to engage our fans and Minnesotans as we work to end racism and build a community based on equality, empathy and justice."
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