The president of a Kansas City police union is asking Kansas City Chiefs player Marcus Peters to set aside personal protest and get involved in a new police-backed community outreach program.
Peters was one of the first Chiefs players to protest the treatment of minorities by police officers by demonstrating during the singing of the National Anthem.
Protest around the NFL is a hot-button issue that picked up steam this weekend when President Donald Trump chimed in.
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At a political rally in Alabama, Trump said he would like to see NFL owners “fire” anyone that demonstrates during the anthem.
Peters, of course, sat on a trainer’s bench during the National Anthem prior to the Chiefs’ season-opening game Sept. 7 against the New England Patriots.
In a letter to Peters dated Sept. 10, Brad Lemon, president of the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 99, invited the Chiefs cornerback to join officers at a community-based program at Wendall Phillips Elementary School.
The union, Lemon wrote in the letter, was recently awarded a $145,000 grant to implement the program. The goal is to help improve the relationship between police and the community.
Lemon, a former police officer and veteran, posted the letter to the FOP’s Facebook page Tuesday. He said he wanted to reach out to Peters in a more formal manner instead of with anger.
“Our organization...has created a partnership...to open the lines of communication with members of our community in the inner city that often feel that their voices are not heard,” Lemon wrote to Peters. “We invite you to be apart of this partnership and work with us to foster these relationships. This invitation is open-ended and we hope you take us up on it.”
Lemon said Peters did not respond to the letter, but Chiefs executives did. The team, Lemon said, pledged to get involved.
Officers with the Kansas City Police Department and Chief Rick Smith are involved as well.
“I was in near constant communication with members of the Chiefs’ Front Office and on September 19th, I had a good conversation with Mark Donovan, President of the Chiefs,” Lemon wrote in Tuesday’s Facebook post “In response to our invitation to Mr. Peters, Mr. Donovan relayed that the organization was very interested in finding a way to work with FOP members, and he told me that several Chiefs players were interested in finding a way to spend time with police officers and children involved in our community outreach program.
“We ended the conversation with the intention of meeting soon and putting our efforts together.”