Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher came under severe scrutiny on Thursday for his recent activity on Instagram following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. Many fans and media members had immediate thoughts on the activity and now his former teammates, as well as his former team, are speaking their minds on the matter.
Urlacher posted an image criticizing the NBA players for not participating in the playoffs, comparing the walkout to former Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre playing through the grief of losing his father back in 2003. The 2018 Hall of Fame inductee then “liked” a photo showing support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year old who is accused of multiple homicide charges after three people were shot during the protests in Kenosha, two of whom were killed.
Following the activity, the Chicago Bears and Urlacher’s former teammates responded. First, the Bears released the following statement on Thursday evening:
The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization.
Later on, Urlacher’s former teammate running back Matt Forte, who played with the linebacker for five seasons, shared the following in a series of tweets.
The comment @BUrlacher54 (Brian Urlacher) posted is void of empathy, compassion, wisdom and coherence. But full of pride and ignorance! I pray for those who have been blinded by their wealth, privilege and earthly fame that breeds arrogance in their hearts. And those who refuse to acknowledge racism and injustice but instead choose to place their energy into justifying it by quickly judging the victims life as if they themselves are more valuable because their sins are different or weren’t caught by man… but God sees all. End Racism and injustice #byanymeansnecessary.
Forte then followed up those posts with this series of tweets on Friday afternoon, expanding on his thoughts on the situation:
Now my agent is getting media requests for me to comment on 54. Nah, I’m not talkin to you so you can use it to further the division btw humanity. Just read these tweets and nothing will be twisted to create headlines. The reason I’m continuing to pray for 54 and those who share his perspective is because he can ignore my accountability towards him but he’s defenseless against these prayers. [People] have to realize that we all have something in common with someone who’s a criminal, thug, a racist or someone who’s made bad choices etc… and that is YES my character may be better, my morals and values may be better but as a human being created in the image of God. We are all sinful and have the same value and deserve dignity, love and respect for our lives. No matter what you’ve done. So wether you’re HOFer, practice sq, homeless, addict, sex predator etc. I’m no better and my value is NOT more because of my earthly accomplishments. #truth.
The reason I kept referring to Brian as 54 is because it’d be a shame for him, as well as me, to only be remembered for our tackles and touchdowns. Right now he and the number 54 are synonymous as 22 with me. But when our days end if that’s all people think of us then we’ve failed to be a public success and a private failure is no life to live. I still have love and respect for 54, as well as all people, and we can lovingly disagree but not when it comes to the oppression of people and racism. It’s evident that you can spend the majority of your life with and around black ppl and still not understand the struggle. Even while playing on the same field and being in the same locker room because true understanding doesn’t come from reading a book about it, watching a documentary or an episode of Black-ish. It comes from the actual experience of racism and injustice or self honesty in saying you know what I’ll probably never understand but I’m willing to listen and humbly with compassion put my feet in the oppressed shoes and walk through it with them, as I try to understand the inequality and mistreatments of black and brown people since the first slaves touched U.S. soil. But battles are surly not won on Twitter. The seeds that birthed America were sown in slavery and watered with oppression and racism and it’s roots run deep. So they MUST be rooted out and extinguished. So don’t justify, rather think Just-if-i would fight against racism how much better this world would be for our children! #EndRacism. M. Forté Out ✌🏿.
Forte’s posts resonated with another former teammate and someone who played with Urlacher more than most; linebacker Lance Briggs. Briggs, who played next to Urlacher for a decade, simply shared Forte’s comments on his Twitter.
Finally, another former teammate receiver Rashied Davis, spoke out on the matter as well. Davis, who was a member of the Bears from 2005-2010, joined Dan Bernstein on 670 The Score to talk about the protests as well as Urlacher’s comments. The former wide receiver has been on the front lines, protesting in Kenosha over the last week and has had personal experience dealing with police brutality in the past. When asked about Urlacher, Davis said the following:
“When I did find out about his statement yesterday, I did reach out to him and he agreed to sit down and have a conversation with me and hopefully we can do that. But his statement, it was tone deaf. It lacked any empathy, lacked all wisdom. There was no equivalent between Brett Favre’s dad dying – which I sympathize with him, I lost my father when I was 8 years old. And I understand that. But that’s not the same courage it takes to stand up and protest against racism and racial inequality and police brutality.
“I personally have family members who have been brutalized by police. One who almost died, had to have emergency surgery. He had no idea that it had happened until he was allowed to make a phone call and call my mom and say what was happening.
“To hear it, it hurts. It hurt me deeply to hear someone that I cared about, or care about, someone I call a friend, someone I went to work with everyday for six-seven years here, playing football. To read those words and have conversations with people, it was painful.”
The comments and social media activity from Urlacher hurt many Bears fans and sports fans across the nation, but they also deeply affected some of the people who knew him best during his playing days.
As of now, Urlacher has not responded following the criticism.
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