Packers cancel practice, LaFleur explains decision
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers decision to cancel practice was not predetermined before the team came to work on Thursday. But as discussions on race took the place of X’s and O’s in meetings, coach Matt LaFleur took the temperature of the room, felt the raw emotion of his players, and made a choice.
“Not one guy said that they didn’t want to practice today,” LaFleur said. “That never came up. We were having some really long conversations. When you feel that emotion in the room it’s hard to focus on football. It is emotionally draining for everyone in the room. So I made the decision that ‘hey, we’re not going to go today.’ I just didn’t think it was right.”
The Packers players did not meet the media Thursday, but they did take to social media. Safety Adrian Amos said on Twitter:
“That’s real,” LaFleur said. “A lot of our players are feeling like that and I 100 percent support what they are going through. We are all human and people have emotions. I don’t think anybody, myself included, want to be defined by what their job is.”
As for returning to practice, LaFleur says he will make a plan Thursday night, reconvene with the team Friday, and see what the future holds. And when asked if it might work to set up some kind of tailgate tour for his players to go around and talk about race relations, LaFleur said: “I think anytime our players have a chance to tell their stories, that’s when we come together as a people.”
All this, while the Packers have a lot of work to do and not a lot of time to get it done. With cut down day only 9 days away, LaFleur would have loved to maximize every second of Thursday’s practice. But canceling that work was more important to the coach who has always listened to his players. And he thinks the world would be better if we all listened to each other a little more as well.
“What’s so great about our sports and the essence of team is that you have a bunch of people from different backgrounds coming together in pursuit of a common goal,” LaFleur said. “If our society could emulate that or see how we operate as a team the world would be a much better place.”
LaFleur admits there is no road map for what his team does next as they look to effect societal change, but they will be deliberate in their actions.
“A lot of our leaders had a lot of good stuff to say and a lot of ideas,” LaFleur said. “I think it’s no different than how your approach a game. You have to put your plan together before you go play a game. You don’t just go wing it. That’s why I want to be cautious about not divulging too much. We are in the process of putting out plan together and hopefully we can go out and execute that plan and see some significant changes in our society.”
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