On Wednesday, George Floyd was laid to rest in his hometown of Houston, two weeks after his horrific killing sparked worldwide outrage and massive protests.
Texans chairman and chief executive officer Cal McNair and wife Hannah were among the 500 guests attending, along with head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien, executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby, offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver, defensive end J.J. Watt and other players and coaches.
Floyd's three-hour long funeral at the Fountain of Praise church in southwest Houston. Floyd's family members and political leaders including mayor Sylvester Turner, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and Reverend Al Sharpton spoke on behalf of Floyd and called for comprehensive police reform and an end to systemic racism. Turner proclaimed June 9 as "George Perry Floyd, Jr. Day" in Houston and announced that he would sign an executive order prohibiting city police from using chokeholds or strangleholds. The order would also require the police to give a warning before shooting, among other measures.
Last week, head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien cancelled all virtual meetings on Tuesday so that staff and players could pay their respects to the Houston native, who played football for Jack Yates High School. The 46-year-old was murdered when a Minneapolis police officer put his knee neck on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded that he could not breathe.
"I've seen the video and I think it's disgusting," Watt said on May 27. "I think that there's no explanation for it, to me it doesn't make any sense. I just don't see how a man in handcuffs on the ground, who is clearly detained and clearly in distress, I don't understand how that situation can't be remedied in a way that doesn't end in his death."
In his statement last Wednesday, McNair not only offered his thoughts on the Floyd killing, he also pledged to use his platform to educate others on systemic racism and social injustice.
"I acknowledge that after I'm done giving this statement, I have the privilege to continue going about my day feeling safe," McNair said. "Given that reality, from here on forward, I will make it a priority for this awareness to become a part of the fabric of the Houston Texans and I want to name what that will look like. What I envision is to use a platform of the Texans to empower black leaders in the community to speak and educate the Texans community."
McNair said he wanted to bring awareness to the issues faced by the black community. On Monday, the McNair family took the next step with a new project, "Conversations for Change," a new video series aimed to share personal stories and experiences with racism. In the first episode, Cal, Hannah and co-founder and senior chair Janice McNair had a candid conversation with former Texans defensive end Travis Johnson.
"It's hard to change the world, but we can try to make our little corner better and hopefully this is, you know, moving in that direction," McNair said. "That's our prayer."
To watch the first episode of "Conversations for Change," click here.