1. Current and former Bills urge Congress to end qualified immunity
Players, coaches and front office representatives from across the professional sports landscape joined forces under the umbrella of the Players Coalition to sign a petition urging Congress to pass the bill introduced by Representatives Justin Amash and Ayanna Pressley to end qualified immunity for the nation's law enforcement.
Qualified immunity has shielded law enforcement from any liability even when their actions have been egregious in exercising force. The Supreme Court has expanded these protections over the years for law enforcement making it extremely challenging to sue police officers for brutality.
The bill reads in part - It is time for Congress to eliminate qualified immunity and it can do so by passing the Amash-Pressley Bill. 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. And officers must know that if they act in such a manner, there will be repercussions. A legal system that does not provide such a recourse is an illegitimate one.
The Representatives from Michigan and Massachusetts have submitted this bill in the hopes of eradicating qualified immunity, and in support of that effort, the Players coalition collected more than 1,400 signatures to get elected officials to take definitive action.
Of those 1,400 signatures, 92 were made by current and former Bills players and coaches, including Hall of Famers, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas. Current Bills players Vernon Butler, Dion Dawkins and E.J. Gaines also added their names to the petition.
ESPN's Diana Russini also reported that the Players Coalition invited all 32 NFL clubs to a virtual meeting yesterday at 5 pm to focus on how the league can pursue and enact more initiatives aimed at promoting social justice and assisting black communities.
2. Kim Pegula, Leslie Frazier to take part in QB Coaching Summit
Bills owner Kim Pegula and assistant head coach, Leslie Frazier, will both be key participants in the third annual Quarterback Coaching Summitt later this month.
In partnership with the Black College Football Hall of Fame, the NFL will conduct a virtual summit in which NFL and NCAA assistant coaches can participate in a two-day program to develop networking opportunities with NFL club executives.
"The Quarterback Summit brings together the brightest, most innovative and successful offensive minds from around the country," said Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. "From professional development to networking to coaching best practices, this summit should leave no doubt about the promising pipeline of championship play callers within the sport of football."
The program will feature sessions and panels led by NFL owners, current and former NFL coaches, and college football coaches. Both Pegula and Frazier will be among those making presentations over the two-day summit. The event will take place on June 22nd and 23rd.
3. An abbreviated preseason?
Some NFL fans may get their wish for a shortened preseason this summer. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero is reporting that the NFL and NFLPA are in talks to shorten the league's preseason schedule from four to two games.
Shortening the preseason schedule is being considered for two reasons. One, to provide players with a longer ramp-up time to get their bodies ready for regular season football after not having team practices for the balance of the offseason.
The second reason would be to give medical experts as much time as possible to finalize the protocols needed for game days.