In a long-form personal essay, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan condemned endemic racism in the wake of George Floyd‘s killing.
Protests have rocked the nation, and Jacksonville is no exception, with violence on the weekend marring otherwise peaceful protests calling for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to release body camera footage for all police involved shootings.
“Racism, in all its forms, will kill. It kills people, it kills communities, it kills dreams, it kills hope,” Khan wrote.
Khan, a Pakistan-born billionaire who is by no means a full-time resident of Jacksonville, did not offer his take on local concerns. His essay addressed the more global phenomenon, interweaving his personal story into support.
“The video capturing the final moments of George Floyd’s life offer the latest horrific evidence of injustice that is all too prevalent in the U.S. No families in this country should have to go to bed at night worrying about whether their children are going to encounter the wrong police officer in the wrong moment. No families should have to worry about their child losing their life just because of the color of their skin. Yet, they do. That should never happen in what should be, and I still believe is, the greatest nation on the planet,” Khan said.
The Jaguars’ owner added that “being a Muslim-American made me a frequent target of prejudice, discrimination and hatred. I won’t claim to know what it means to be a young African American today, but I can speak honestly and painfully to my own experiences as a person of color for the past 53 years in this country. Even recently, I have had people spew racist language in my presence when talking about other people of color — apparently ignorant of my ethnicity. Change for all people of color in the United States is long overdue, and it must happen now.”
Part of that change, Khan wrote, is listening to employees.
“I will listen to the players in the days ahead with an exceptionally keen ear so we can work with them to make the transition from conversation to actionable plans in the name of lasting change. And I will do the same with employees and associates throughout my various businesses, where the interests and concerns on this matter are no less vital.”
Khan, who supported the election of President Donald Trump in 2016 (also donating $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee), has broken with Republican interests locally and beyond over the years.
He came out against the controversial Trump immigration/travel ban from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Khan broke also with Trump a few years back over NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem.
A number of Jacksonville Jaguars kneeled for the American National Anthem; a protest against President Donald Trump‘s provocative comments about protesting players. Khan locked arms with players as they stood.
Trump said at a rally: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now… he is fired.’ ”
Trump’s tempest was too much for him to support during the NFL season.
“I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem,” Khan said.