John Harbaugh Discusses Team Meeting on Social Justice


During a Friday video conference, Head Coach John Harbaugh discussed the lengthy team meeting the Ravens held Thursday as the organization continued its proactive stance in the battle for social justice. Harbaugh was moved by the experience.

"Being part of a football team is a unique thing," Harbaugh said. "A football team comes from a lot of different places and races and spaces and religions, just many different perspectives. They have to come together and stand together, even given their differences, to work together to find mutual understanding.

"By the end of the day, I was surprised how emotionally spent I was, and I think everybody was. You care about one another and we had some really interesting … deep, thoughtful, challenging things were said back and forth. But it was spoken in love. And we learned a lot."

The Ravens issued a statement Thursday which detailed steps the organization will take to combat racism and social injustice.

"Racism is embedded in the fabric of our nation's foundation and is a blemish on our country's history," the statement said in part. "If we are to change course and make our world a better place, we must face this problem head-on and act now to enact positive change."

One of the goals of Thursday's meeting was to leave with a specific plan that could start immediately, and Harbaugh was pleased that was accomplished.

"I think the statement was great because it was very specific," Harbaugh said. "It outlined the things we're going to do in terms of initiatives and in terms of legislation that we want to support.

"Not everybody's going to agree with every point in that statement. Not everybody on our team, probably, is going to agree with every aspect of it. But the ability to respect each other's opinion and come up with something that's workable is a good example of how you work every problem. I'm proud of the guys for doing that. I think it took a lot of courage, intelligence and thought."

Harbaugh said the possibility of not playing games this season if there are not changes in society was not mentioned during the meeting.

"That didn't come up, specifically," Harbaugh said. "We did talk about symbolic things as a team that might be done or not done. I do believe we'll play. Guys want to play."

Harbaugh is confident the meeting will help the team focus on its social justice efforts with a clear sense of direction.

"I'm proud of our players, I'm proud of the coaches, I'm proud of the organization and the opportunity to really be at the forefront in some way of change," Harbaugh said. "We're not going to change the whole world overnight, but we can change our world. I think that's what our guys are trying to do."

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