LAS VEGAS — The soccer enjoyable and video games surrounding the Pro Bowl haven’t stopped a number of the NFL’s high players from enthusiastic about the racial inequities spotlighted by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ discrimination lawsuit in opposition to the league.
“I think it goes without saying that we have a problem,” Matthew Slater, the New England Patriots’ veteran receiver and particular groups ace, informed The Associated Press.
“I don’t know if it’s the process,” he added. “I don’t know what you want to attribute it to. But you look at the end result for our league to be composed of 60% African-Americans and only have one African-American coach, one minority owner, not a lot of representation within front office and upper management – to me, it says we have a problem.”
Slater’s opinion was echoed by different professionals Saturday after the AFC Pro Bowl workforce’s gentle observe at Las Vegas Ballpark, the suburban baseball diamond the place each groups are figuring out earlier than Sunday’s sport at Allegiant Stadium. The Pro Bowl is again on after a one-year hiatus, and the All-Star sport is making its Sin City debut after the earlier 4 editions have been held in Orlando.
But Flores’ lawsuit served as a reminder to even these elite players that their sport has ample work to do on racial equality.
“I feel like African-American coaches sometimes get the short end of the stick, so we’ve just got to find a way to get that going,” Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard informed the AP.
“You know, a lot of owners … behind closed doors say a lot of things, and as players, we don’t get to see that,” Leonard added. “And coaches, with Brian, you lose and it (stinks), and you want to make a change. Somehow we’ve got to find a way to make an even platform for all races, not just Blacks or white, but for all races. We’ve got to make sure that it’s equal opportunities for everyone.”
Flores sued the league and three groups this week over alleged racist hiring practices for coaches and high executives. The go well with claims the league stays “rife with racism” even because the NFL publicly champions racial equality.
Many players and coaches have publicly backed Flores, who went 24-25 in three seasons because the Dolphins’ head coach earlier than his controversial firing final month. Flores then interviewed for the New York Giants’ teaching emptiness, and the expertise performed a job in his determination to file the lawsuit.
“I just feel like that situation needs to work itself out, man,” Los Angeles Chargers security Derwin James mentioned. “Because we all need to learn the facts of both sides of the story, and we’ve got to really see what’s going on. Like I say, I support Coach Flores throughout everything. And like I said, I just want to know what the truth is.”
GAMES OF CHANCE
The Pro Bowl is again after the primary 17-game common season in NFL historical past, and the league selected to host it in Las Vegas on the identical weekend because the NHL All-Star Game and several other smaller sporting occasions in Sin City. Attendance at practices has been pretty gentle, and the sport at Allegiant Stadium just isn’t anticipated to be a sellout.
The players aren’t complaining about spending a weekend in Sin City, even when temperatures haven’t climbed a lot above 60 levels within the excessive desert.
“I think probably more people lost their money, so it might actually be a little more competitive than you think,” Kansas City offensive sort out Orlando Brown Jr. mentioned with fun. “I think it’ll be fun. I think it’ll be a competitive game. It’s got that Pro Bowl feel to it.”
CAN’T KICK IT
In the NFL’s newest try at innovation that additionally will increase participant security, the Pro Bowl can have no kickoffs.
Instead, the winner of the opening coin toss can have two choices: to identify the ball anyplace on the sphere for the primary play, or to resolve whether or not to begin on offense or protection from the opposite workforce’s chosen spot.
The so-called “spot and choose” methodology was instructed to the league’s Competition Committee final 12 months by the Baltimore Ravens partly as an answer to the inequities of the present additional time system.
Buffalo receiver Stefon Diggs may line up for the primary time in opposition to his youthful brother, Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs.
Their groups haven’t met since Trevon reached the NFL final season, however Vegas followers may very well be handled to the primary matchup of the Bills’ prolific wideout and the rising defensive again whose 11 interceptions have been essentially the most by an NFL participant since Everson Walls in 1981.
Smart younger players are utilizing the Pro Bowl week as an opportunity to get to know their opponents in a relaxed, pleasant ambiance – whereas additionally choosing up information for the long run.
Pittsburgh receiver Diontae Johnson, a first-time Pro Bowler as a late substitute, is absorbing every little thing on his first journey to Las Vegas.
“You can learn a lot, because everybody didn’t get here for no reason,” Johnson mentioned. “I was just over there talking to Travis Kelce about how he reads a defense and how he runs his routes, how he extends people. He’s given me some pointers, and I feel like I can add that to my toolbox. I feel like I can learn from everybody out here.”
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