HOUSTON – Athletes, coaches, and executives from the sports world signed a letter supporting the Ending Qualified Immunity Act, ESPN reported Wednesday.
Among them, Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and retired Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith were notable Texas athletes who signed the letter. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees also joined in.
Qualified immunity can shield government officials, including police officers, from civil liability, even if their actions are later determined to be a violation of constitutional rights.
Players Coalition, an independent organization working with athletes, coaches and owners across leagues to improve racial equality in America, worked with U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (D-Michigan) and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), who introduced the bill last week to give Americans a better chance to hold police accountable, ESPN reported.
In a tweet Wednesday, Players Coalition released the full letter and the names of athletes, coaches and staff who have supported the effort.
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
“We demand accountability for police brutality,” the tweet read. “It’s time for change."
The letter explained that qualified immunity has “shielded some of the worst law enforcement officers in America," whether a man, woman or child gets killed.
“It is time for Congress to eliminate qualified immunity and it can do so by passing the Amash-Pressley Bill,” the letter read. “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.”
Players Coalition invited all 32 NFL teams to a virtual meeting Wednesday afternoon, according to ESPN. The goal of the meeting was to discuss initiatives aimed at promoting social justice and serving the black community.