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McDermott: "It's important that [players] know that they're heard."

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Posted at 4:01 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 16:03:48-04

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — Much of the sports world came to a halt on Wednesday as players and teams sat out and boycotted their games following the Jacob Blake shooting. While several leagues are on hold on Thursday as well, the Buffalo Bills went ahead with their scrimmage. But it wasn't a decision that was made lightly.

"We thought about it from the administrative side," McDermott said. "We've had and will continue to have ongoing conversations about the things that are going on in our world and the result of those things."

McDermott's tenure in Buffalo has brought a culture change to the Bills' locker room; players have attested to what it has brought to the team both at One Bills Drive and outside of the facility. In times like these, the best thing the head coach can do is listen.

"At the end of the day, we're all human even though we're in the bubble of the NFL, or professional sports," McDermott said. "We're sensitive to the things that [our players] have been around and seen in some ways as well. I think it's important that they know that they're heard, they have a voice, and we support them."

The Milwaukee Bucks and the Milwaukee Brewers started the boycotts for each of their respective sports on Wednesday. Several teams, and later entire sports leagues, followed suit shortly after.

"I think it's admirable that the players, staffs, and organizations have taken the action that they have," McDermott said. "Obviously actions need to be taken, and each and every one has their own opinion of what the right thing is to do."

Even though the Bills went ahead with their scrimmage, individual players had the choice to sit out of practice if they chose to do so. Offering that choice is a part of what McDermott has established during his time in Buffalo.

"We don't make anyone do something that they don't want to do around here," McDermott said. "It goes back to the mutual respect that I hope that everyone inside of our building has for one another. These are very emotional conversations and decisions... they're things we take very seriously."

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