Mark and Zygi Wilf, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings, issued a statement Friday in support of efforts for racial justice and law enforcement reform.
It follows a turbulent week in the U.S., with the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparking renewed debate over police brutality and systemic racism, and strikes among major league sports teams.
In Minneapolis, the suicide of a Black man suspected of an earlier homicide led to unfounded rumors of a police shooting on social media, sparking rioting and looting in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday evening.
After a meeting of players on Friday, Vikings practice still went ahead despite eight other teams choosing to sit out.
Nonetheless, the owners of the team issued a statement in support for the calls for change that have long been sought by the Black community, which the Wilfs say are "not political issues, but rather societal issues."
Here is the full statement:
"We wholeheartedly support the message Vikings players delivered from U.S. Bank Stadium today and continue to be proud of how they are using their platform to productively and peacefully bring awareness to critical issues of racism and injustice with the goal of creating transformational change. We are angered and distressed by the continued horrendous acts of violence against members of the Black community, most recently the shooting of Jacob Blake. Together with the players, we are committed to taking action in three initial areas: 1) urging citizens to use their right to vote and increasing voter education and registration; 2) supporting the adoption of impactful educational curriculum on racism and Black history; and 3) advocating for law enforcement and criminal justice reform. These are not political issues but rather societal issues, and they cannot be transformed through sports alone. We will work to create further opportunities to engage our fans and Minnesotans as we work to end racism and build a community based on equality, empathy and justice."