Usually, at this point of the year, Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia is 100% focused on how he can make his football team better.
But this year is different.
Instead of having football as his priority, Patricia has shifted gears following the tragic death of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who has since been charged with murder and manslaughter.
Patricia recently spoke to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated and shared how he is dealing with Floyd’s death and how he will support his players.
“That’s the whole point, you gotta walk in there and you gotta listen,” Patricia said late Tuesday night.
“The hardest thing for me, as a person, how I’m wired, when things happen in the world, whatever it is, instantly I go into this mode, I try to grind through it. OK, how do we fix this? What can we do? The hardest thing for me is to ever walk into a meeting and say, ‘I don’t understand and I don’t have the answers on this. What do we do?’
“That’s the truth. You walk in there and say, ‘Fellas, listen, I love you and I’m here for you. But I’m here to listen right now, and just know that I have your back. And I support you and I’m here for you because I love you. But I really think I gotta listen.’”
Patricia also talked about his initial reaction to when he watched Floyd be murdered, like many of us have.
“Honestly, I was just disgusted, angry, sad, depressed,” Patricia said. “The range of emotion, you watch the video, someone being murdered and you’re like … I didn’t even know how to process it. And the range of emotion I know I felt in watching that was only one-tenth of a fraction of a minute percent of what my players must’ve been feeling. So when I got up on Friday, I didn’t sleep much. I’d been grinding on stuff all night, it was just, ‘This isn’t right.’”