Bills to participate in community outreach programs “to help change and improve legislation and institutional culture”

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2016 file photo, Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills have agreed to re-sign Alexander, their top pass-rusher, to a two-year, $9 million contract. That's a considerable increase in pay for the 33-year-old Alexander, who was supposed to play a backup and special teams role in signing a one-year $885,000 deal with the Bills last spring. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Bills announced on Monday a community outreach program to raise awareness and continue the conversation about social issues.

The team will participate in five community programs throughout the Queen City on Tuesday, October, 17 and also plan to meet with local officials.

Less than a week ago, it was reported the NFL was looking into a potential rule change that would require players to stand during the national anthem before games.

President Donald Trump, during a campaign rally in Alabama, said he’d like to see owners fire players who kneel during the anthem.

Following the president’s comments, players throughout the league took a knee, including several from the Bills during their Week 3 contest against the Broncos.

Six players took a knee prior to Buffalo’s win over Atlanta.

In a statement released on Twitter, Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander wrote the protest by players “have not been about our military nor our allegiance and appreciation for our country’s principles and privileges, but to start a conversation to begin the process of understanding, equality and love.”

“Playing in the NFL Has afforded players a platform to raise awareness for many issues in our communities from breast cancer to health and wellness of children to domestic violence. Over the past year and a half, our team has utilized the national anthem as an opportunity to protest to bring attention about racial and social inequalities plaguing our country.  These protests have not been about our military nor our allegiance and appreciation for our country’s principles and privileges, but to start a conversation to begin the process of understanding, equality and love.”

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Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said he would bench a player who knelt during the anthem, a week after he locked arms, took a knee and then stood and stayed along the sidelines with players in a show of solidarity during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his protest of racial injustice and police brutality more than a year ago, and many players throughout the league have continued to take a knee or lock arms during the anthem.

Alexander continued in his post, “We understand the issues we are concerned about will take a holistic approach to solve. As a team, we have decided to engage our community in two ways. First, on Tuesday, October 17, we plan to go out into the community as an organization and serve Buffalo’s young people through five different community relations events. Our hope is that this is not just a feel-good moment, but from these events, relationships are birthed and are continued into the future and become sustainable for the men who come behind us.

Secondly, we plan to meet with local public and political officials about how players, we can help change and improve legislation and institutional culture that has aided in my of the issues.

The last month has not been easy, but I am proud of our organization and our team. We are hopeful that change will come from these protests, discussions and actions here in buffalo, as well as our hometown communities.”

Bills Community Outreach

The Belle Center: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Northwest Buffalo Community Center: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Matt Urban Hope Center: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Crucial Catch: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Police Athletic League: 6:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.

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