Best Of 2020

Throughout the past year, scores of current and former local athletes and coaches have taken active roles in the fight against COVID-19 and for social justice. These are just a few of their stories. 

All comments were made to PressBox unless otherwise noted.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens released a video in June that featured owner Steve Bisciotti, head coach John Harbaugh and several players proclaiming their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of social justice. Two months later, after more unrest roiled the nation, the Ravens released a statement that stood out for its specificity. The statement grew out of a talk initially between safety Anthony Levine Sr. and Harbaugh that soon involved many players in candid, honest discussions.

Rather than just express a desire for social justice, the statement articulated specific goals. Among them: arrest and charge the officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor; demand that Sen. Mitch McConnell bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the Senate floor for a vote; ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and demand prison sentencing reform. The statement also emphasized voting and registering for elections.

“Not everyone is going to agree with every point in that statement,” Harbaugh said the day after it was released. “Not everybody on our team probably is going to agree with every aspect of it. But the ability to respect one another’s opinion … is a good example of how you can work every problem. I’m proud of the guys for doing that.”

Bisciotti’s foundation also donated $1 million to be allocated to social justice causes in the Baltimore area, with a committee including Morgan Cox, Marlon Humphrey, Matthew Judon, Ronnie Stanley, Justin Tucker and former Raven Torrey Smith deciding where that money should go. Ultimately, 28 programs were chosen to receive funding.

“We have a powerful platform — and a responsibility — to help eliminate injustices that are prevalent in our communities,” Bisciotti said in a statement announcing the donations. “For far too long, people of color have been underserved by a system that should protect, rather than harm. Our entire organization, including players past and present, is fully committed to creating social justice reform. We will continue to seek out opportunities that support, encourage and defend those who are most in need.”

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox 

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Plus: Check out PressBox’s 2020 Mo Gaba Sportsperson of the Year, Trey Mancini.

Trey Mancini

Bo Smolka

See all posts by Bo Smolka. Follow Bo Smolka on Twitter at @bsmolka