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Bengals release statement on supporting players calling for change

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“We appreciate our players’ honesty and strength, being vulnerable and sharing their experiences with each other and our coaches,” - Katie Blackburn.

NFL: DEC 29 Browns at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In recent weeks, athletes across all sports have made their voices heard on the racial injustices in America following the death of George Floyd. That’s included a host of Cincinnati Bengals players speaking out and demanding change.

Then on Wednesday, the Bengals released a statement through Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn on supporting their players who are raising awareness about inequality and promoting change.

“We appreciate our players’ honesty and strength, being vulnerable and sharing their experiences with each other and our coaches,” said Blackburn. “We look forward to continuing to listen and to work together as one connected team to better our society.”

This comes after Bengals head coach Zac Taylor had an open meeting for players and coaches to air out their feelings on the current events happening in America.

“We had a meeting airing it all out,”veteran safety Shawn Williams told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “The raw, uncut truth of feelings. ‘How’s it make you feel? How are you dealing with it and what changes have to be made going forward?’

“To hear people express the way they’re feeling, it was hard. But it’s what’s needed. Guys are angry. Guys are scared. A different range of emotions. Things got tense, but for the right reasons. This stuff is emotional. You can’t have this conversation without emotion.”

The Bengals also recently made a pledge of $250,000 to community initiatives to be selected by players, coaches and staff together.

“Please do not mistake a lack of public commentary for indifference. The Bengals organization believes that fighting prejudice and discrimination requires action but to do so we have to listen first,” the team said in a statement.

“Serious problems have been with us too long. Our Club has a proud tradition of opposing discrimination and of promoting equality through action, starting when team founder Paul Brown helped break professional sports’ color barrier in 1946 with Marion Motley and Bill Willis. Those are the principles on which the franchise was founded and those are the same principles that guide our organization’s thoughts and actions today.

“The effort to advance equality endures. Progress is needed and progress requires action. These are not just words. The Bengals have acted on these principles throughout the Club’s history and will continue to act on them.”