Extra Points: Eagles Owner Opens Up About Issues
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has always been known for his strong stances on social issues.
That proved to be the case again on Sunday during a video teleconference with media. During a one-hour interview, he touched on a variety of subjects, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the fight to end systemic racism, and the decision not to allow fans at Lincoln Financial Field for at least the first few home games this season.
"There's so much pain both in our country and around the world, and obviously we're going through two terrible, terrible pandemics," Lurie said. "One that's existed for the history of our entire country, the pandemic of systemic racism, violence to minorities, oppression, all that kind of activities that have been part of our history, and obviously the once-in-the-last-100-years health pandemic that's been devastating, as well."
*On the Covid-19 pandemic: "We have 800,000 deaths and rising around the world. We have almost 200,000 deaths in the United States. This is from COVID-19 alone. Thirty thousand in the month of August. Over 1,000 in the United States -- over 1,000 every single day. So if I told you that yesterday, five Boeing 737s crashed in the United States, everybody died, well, that's every single day right now, every single day. It's been like that for many weeks.
"It's heartbreaking. These are needless deaths. Needless. We should be similar to most countries on this planet, and yet we are an embarrassment and a tragic embarrassment. That's where we stand."
*On the Eagles' social justice committee and his role: "To me, action is the most important. The conversations need to take place. They've always taken place with our team, going back a few years. We've always had a very close-knit atmosphere between our players and ownership and executives, and I think it's served us well and it continues to, because I trust our players. I trust the direction and their feelings of hurt and where they think we should go. I'm more of a listener and I'm somebody that wants to fully support with the resources of our organization and our league whatever actions that are deemed the most sustainable.
"So, if I can be a guide in terms of where I think things can be sustainable, then I'm there for them. But as I said to them, I think, yesterday or the day before in our meeting with the social justice committee was, ‘I'm here for you guys. You guys take the lead and you will have, as you always have had, our support.’ That's just the way we've naturally operated."
*On DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic quotes during the offseason: "Well, I thought the social media posts were disgusting and appalling. I don't think anybody can take it any other way. You're talking about a leader of a genocide, and it doesn't matter what it was a genocide of. Any leader of a genocide is one of the worst individuals and a member of a group of individuals that we've seen both in our lifetime and in history.
"He has, I think, really understood the ramifications of that appalling post. So far, everything that we've asked him to do to both educate himself and to learn and take action, he's done completely. So, I would hope that would continue. ... That's a daily event, and that's where that's at."
*On using Lincoln Financial Field as a polling place: "We have a very important election coming up on November 3rd, and one of the things we've offered to do is to open up Lincoln Financial Field to be a polling place if needed. We're also going to close our offices that day. We've encouraged also our staff to be volunteers in the pre-polling in terms of registration or any help we can be to maximize people's ease of voting, no matter how they're going to vote. We want to see that happen. Too few people that are even registered to vote, I think it's like 60 percent, even vote in this country."
*On not allowing fans for at least the first few home games: "We have been trying very, very hard to come up with solutions that are safe and innovative in time for the beginning of the season, and we've had a lot of really creative and constructive conversations with the state and the city, and that continues on a daily and weekly basis. We are hopeful there's going to be real ways of having significant fans in our stadium pretty soon. Maybe not for September but after that, and we're looking at innovative ways of testing, with rapid testing, with point-of-care testing, with home testing because we love our fans. We know we've got a big home field advantage. We even have an away field advantage in places, as you know, like Washington, Los Angeles, Miami."