The Players Coalition submitted a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging them to pass the Amash-Pressley Ending Qualified Immunity Act, which was signed by over 1,400 athletes, coaches, and front office executives from the NFL, NBA, and MLB. The act would end qualified immunity for police officers and other government officials, making it easier to hold them accountable for their actions.
The Players Coalition released their letter on Twitter along with the names of every single person who had signed it.
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— PlayersCoalition (@playercoalition) June 10, 2020
We demand accountability for police brutality. It's time for change. pic.twitter.com/ro7eRmvSK6
"It is time for Congress to eliminate qualified immunity and it can do so by passing the Amash-Pressley Bill. When police officers kill an unarmed man, when they beat a woman, or when they shoot a child, the people of this country must have a way to hold them accountable in a court of law. And officers must know that if they act in such a manner, there will be repercussions. A legal system that does not provide such a recourse is an illegitimate one. In their grief, people have taken to the streets because for too long, their government has failed to protect them. The Courts and elected officials alike have instead shielded people who caused unspeakable harm. Congress must not be complicit in these injustices, and it should take this important step to show that law enforcement abuse will not be tolerated."
Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine in federal law that shields law enforcement and government officials from civil liability for things they do in the course of their job. Unless the action they take clearly violates a constitutional right — and there’s a prior identical case in which the official was held liable — they cannot be sued.
The bill proposed by Michigan Congressman Justin Amash and Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley would end qualified immunity and allow government officials and law enforcement to be sued for their actions.
Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees both signed the letter, along with Malcolm Jenkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow, Demario Davis, Kurt Warner, the McCourty twins, Myles Garrett, Boston Scott, San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers, Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, and many, many more.
While the Players Coalition was started by NFL players, they invited NBA and MLB athletes, coaches, and executives to participate. NBA coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich signed the letter, as did players JJ Redick and Tobias Harris. MLB players who signed include Alex Bregman, Giancarlo Stanton, Tim Anderson, CC Sabathia, Jason Heyward, Chris Archer, Andrew McCutchen, Jack Flaherty, Amir Garrett, Cameron Maybin, and others.
The participation of so many athletes, coaches, and executives is a sign of how deeply the sports community has been affected by the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests that have swept the world. Countless players and coaches from every sport have used their platform to speak up and call for an end to police brutality and systemic racism. Numerous athletes have participated in or even led protests, and some have called out their own teammates and coaches for racism.
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