Bills co-owner Kim Pegula outlined a few ways the club has addressed the ongoing social tension in the United States in a guest column she penned for Peter King’s Football Morning in America on Monday.
Guest contributors are currently filling in for King’s weekly column, and the Bills owner took over this week’s duties. In her piece, Pegula touches on 10 topics and among them is her feelings on racial tension in the United States.
Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, peaceful protests have popped up all over the country. NFL players haven’t been silent, either. Many Black Americans in the league have voiced their opinions. The first of which was well before the current tensions via former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In 2016, he took a knee during the pre-game national anthem to bring light to social injustices.
Because of this, it’s expected that many players across the NFL will follow suit a take a knee once again if and when the 2020 regular season is played. In regard to the Bills, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott said in June that the team has had discussions, but no players have revealed whether or not they would be taking a knee. The coach also did not mention whether or not he would do so himself.
In Pegula’s recent column, she gave some insight into these meetings that the team had. According to the owner, meetings happened in May and key participants in them were defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, defensive end Jerry Hughes, director of player development Marlon Kerner and recently retired linebacker Lorenzo Alexander came back to the team to join in.
Pegula broke down how some of those conversations went:
The guys discussed who they were, where they came from and gave examples of racism they had experienced throughout their lives. Sometimes we see players, coaches and co-workers for what they can do. Win games, make plays, get a job done. We forget their human side. For many of our staff, including myself, this was the first time we had the opportunity to see them as simply people, as Black men from different backgrounds with diverse experiences, all of whom were very concerned with current racial injustices in our country.
We listened to stories of being singled out because of skin color and being wrongfully accused. I never had to have “the talk” with my kids, the talk in which you warn your kids about what you need to do if you get pulled over by the police because you’re a target. We learned why Black lives matter, why “all lives matter” isn’t enough. All of this just made us love them more and all it took was for us to be deliberate and take the time to listen.
Previously this offseason, Pegula was the only one in the Bills organization who did take a side on the kneeling subject. She said she won’t be doing so, but clearly stated that does not mean Pegula doesn’t think anything in regard to racism is just by any means. Instead, Pegula explained her unique reason for standing during the anthem in her column. She discusses how being adopted by Canadian parents and moving to Rochester, leading to her becoming a naturalized American citizen, is why she has taken this stance:
To me, becoming a U.S. citizen involved an oath to the flag and the country, something deeply personal. I pledged allegiance to the flag and standing for the anthem is a tribute to the oath I took. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunities I’ve had, and I wouldn’t have had them if I hadn’t become a U.S. citizen.
It’s a very personal matter to the Bills’ co-owner for her stance, but her column provides and very unique and vantage point from an owner during such a trying time in the United States. Pegula’s column is an intriguing read for Bills fans, so we’ll share it again here: Click here to find Pegula’s column.