Eagles chairman: We must all take ownership of systemic racism

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By KYW Newsradio 1060

UPDATED: Sept. 1, 8 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — At his annual State of the Team press briefing, Eagles Chairman Jeffrey Lurie talked about whether he thinks fans will be at games this season.

And he had a lot to say about the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism.

We know Lincoln Financial Field will be empty for the start of the season, but Lurie said he isn’t ruling out the possibility of spectators down the line.

"We are hopeful there’s gonna be real ways of having significant fans in our stadium pretty soon," he said.

Lurie said the team is looking into ways to allow fans to attend games. 

"We're looking at innovative ways of testing — with rapid testing, with point of care testing, with home testing," he said.

He refused to complain about potential competitive imbalance if other cities can have fans in the stands.

Lurie also said the Linc has been opened up as a potential polling place for Election Day, if it's needed. 

"We're also going to close our offices that day. We encouraged also our staff to be volunteers in the pre-polling, in terms of registration. Anything — any help we can be to maximize people's' ease of voting. No matter how they're going to vote, we want to see that happen," he said.

'Two terrible, terrible pandemics'

A lot of his press conference Sunday dealt with COVID-19 and systemic racism. 

"We're going through two terrible, terrible pandemics," he said, "one that's existed for the history of our entire country, the pandemic of systemic racism, violence to minorities, oppression, all that kind of activities that have been part of our history — and obviously, the once-in-the-last-100-years health pandemic that's been devastating, as well."

Lurie said we all need to take ownership of our part in systemic racism, 

"It's all of us. It's our country that we love, and it's our friends, it's our family, it's people we work with. It's everybody," he said. "It's really, really important, though, I think, to feel the pain first and not anesthetize it."

He explained we need to listen and take action to end racial injustice. 

"Step aside for a moment and listen and listen and listen, and then try to use the gift of elevation, which is a human gift, and take ourselves to a higher level of ourselves and try to figure out what we all can do ... to be part of the solution."

The history of the United States is complex, he said. And we have to own the good and the bad.

"We can all love our country, but to love our country is to own our country, and that's where I really believe strongly that we have to own the good and own the bad, and we won't be able to change the bad until we realize we're responsible for it. I think that has to come from the heart."

And he said he's frustrated by the number of "needless" deaths from the coronavirus in the United States. 

"You know, we are four percent of the world's population, 21 percent of the fatalities. There's a lot to figure out. Why is that the case? Why? A lot of questions to be answered."

Lurie says he is confident NFL protocols will allow the season to happen. He also believes the virus will ultimately decide on its own whether games can be played.

Lurie sounds encouraged by Jackson’s accountability after anti-Semitic posts

In early July, wide receiver DeSean Jackson was under heavy criticism for putting anti-Semitic posts on his Instagram account. Shortly thereafter, the Eagles released a statement, which said, in part, “We are disappointed and we reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing, but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality and respect. We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action.”

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— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) July 7, 2020

The Eagles did not cut Jackson. He is expected to be a big part of their offense in 2020, if he can stay healthy. 

On Sunday, Lurie was asked about his initial reaction, how he measures Jackson’s commitment to educating himself, and what he’s seen from the speedy wide receiver so far.

“I thought the social media posts were disgusting and appalling,” Lurie, who is Jewish, said. “I don’t think anybody can take it any other way. You’re talking about a leader of a genocide, and doesn’t matter what it was a genocide of. Any leader of a genocide is one of the worst individuals, and a member of a group of individuals, that we’ve seen, both in our lifetime and in history.

“I’ve known DeSean for a long time. Obviously, we all have. He has I think really understood the ramifications of that appalling post. So far, everything that we’ve asked him to do to both educate himself and to learn and take action, he’s done completely. So, I would hope that would continue. 

“And I also think that, in life, you have to understand fully where a person’s coming from, and I listened. I listened. It doesn’t take away the hurt. It doesn’t take away the words, but I think that with DeSean, he’s doing the right things, and that has to continue. That’s a daily event, and that’s where that’s at.”