More than 1,400 current and former players and coaches are using their platform to call for change. Tom Brady and several current members of New England Patriots are among them.
The Players Coalition sent an open letter to the United States Congress on Wednesday calling on legislators to pass a bill that would end qualified immunity, a doctrine that helps shield police officers and government officials from being held legally accountable for violating citizens’ consitutional rights.
Today, on behalf of 1100+ athletes & coaches and 300+ front office personnel across the @NFL @NBA & @MLB, we urge Congress to pass the Ending Qualified Immunity Act, introduced by @justinamash & @AyannaPressley
We demand accountability for police brutality. It’s time for change. pic.twitter.com/ro7eRmvSK6
— PlayersCoalition (@playercoalition) June 10, 2020
Brady, who’s now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signed the letter, as did a host of his former Patriots teammates and New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio.
These current Patriots signed: https://t.co/0su0NoxeBQ pic.twitter.com/o2ywQox5af
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) June 10, 2020
The coalition’s letter comes weeks after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered an unarmed Black man, Nick Caserio, by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
“There is a problem,” the letter read. “The world witnessed it when Officer Chauvin murdered George Floyd, and the world is watching it now, as officers deploy enormous force on peaceful protestors like those who were standing outside of the White House last week. The time for debate about the unchecked authority of the police is over; it is now time for change.”
The letter calls for Congress to pass the Ending Qualified Immunity Act, which U.S. Representatives Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Justin Amash (Michigan) introduced last week.
The bill seeks to eliminate a doctrine that was first introduced in 1967 and gives police officers discretionary power to use force in the line of duty so long as they don’t violate “clearly established” federal law.
Critics of qualified immunity have argued the doctrine enables police brutality and has failed to hold officers accountable for murdering Black men and women like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, whose killers have yet to be prosecuted.
The Players Coalition — of which Patriots teammates Jason and Devin McCourty are active members — joined the opposition to the doctrine Wednesday in a powerful way.