Bears Chair McCaskey Talks Fans At Soldier Field, Player Protests
Bears Chair George McCaskey would not give a time frame for when fans would be allowed at Soldier Field but said that the team has "presented a plan to the city of Chicago for how they would welcome back fans when the time is right," according to Colleen Kane of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. McCaskey on Thursday said, "We're told that it is a good plan, but the city wants to see the number of active cases in the city come down before we can bring people to Soldier Field." Meanwhile, Bears players earlier this summer protested police brutality by sitting out a training camp practice; they have pledged further action but "haven't yet revealed their plans." McCaskey: "I do get the sense that players feel freer to voice their opinions, and we're encouraged by that. We want to encourage that. We want Halas Hall to be an environment of inclusion, of candor, of good communication, and it's very heartening to me that players feel comfortable speaking up." McCaskey said that the Bears "will support the players in whatever they decide to do but believes they are interested in more than just kneeling during the anthem." The Bears are in the process of "vetting and streamlining some of the ideas players have presented to them" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/11).
EVOLVING WITH THE TIMES: NBC SPORTS CHICAGO's JJ Stankevitz noted the conversations Bears players, coaches and staff had over the last few months "were not happening in years past." Bears DT Akiem Hicks said, "I've been with Jay (Rodgers, defensive line coach) now for four or five years but there's certain things, you know, conversations that you just haven't had. Right? And (in August) I think we really sat down and just as a group just and broke down some of our feelings about not just football but the world as a whole and shared our experiences." The organization -- starting with McCaskey -- "wants those players to feel empowered, not disparaged." Coach Matt Nagy said, "The biggest thing is the support that everybody here has in the organization from the top down in being able to do what you want to do" (NBCSPORTSCHICAGO.com, 9/10).