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Sports Giants owner Mara hopeful, stands with players on concerns

04:21  04 september  2020
04:21  04 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Mara reiterated his 2017 preference that the Giants stand for the national anthem. He also repeated that he will support any players who choose to kneel and use either their actions or voice to support social change. ''I will tell you this, one of the most memorable team meetings I have ever been

Mara reiterated his 2017 preference that the Giants stand for the national anthem. He also repeated that he will support any players who choose to kneel He added many of the players have worked in their communities in recent months to achieve that, and it has made it easier for him to support them.

a group of football players posing for a picture © Provided by The Canadian Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A long-time advocate of the right to protest for social change and equality, New York Giants co-owner John Mara was stunned recently listening to his players talk about their experiences with law enforcement officials in the wake of the shooting death George Floyd in June.

Speaking to the media Thursday with the start of this coronavirus-challenged season less than two weeks away, Mara discussed a range of issues, from his struggling team and its personnel to his new coach and embattled general manager.

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John Mara all in on Giants plan: ‘We better be a better team’. Mara was elated that Gettleman and Judge went hog wild on the offensive line with No. 1 pick tackle Andrew Thomas, third-round pick “These guys gotta prove themselves as players , but that was the focus going into the draft,” Mara said.

Mara met with coach Joe Judge and the player leadership group last week to discuss what additional steps to take following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. What to Read Next. Giants owner Mara hopeful , stands with players on concerns .

His comments about social justice were clear and strong in a league where many fans and some owners are conservative.

Mara reiterated his 2017 preference that the Giants stand for the national anthem. He also repeated that he will support any players who choose to kneel and use either their actions or voice to support social change.

“I will tell you this, one of the most memorable team meetings I have ever been involved with took place I guess right after the George Floyd murder when we had a Zoom call with players,” Mara said. “I listened to the players' own experiences growing up, dealing with law enforcement. To see the raw emotion that came out of them, guys got very emotional. It’s something, it was an eye opener for me.

Mara would like his players to meet with local governors, politicians and police chiefs to discuss and find solutions to bring about change. He added many of the players have worked in their communities in recent months to achieve that, and it has made it easier for him to support them.

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Giants co- owner John Mara gave a read on that timing during his own session with reporters on Thursday. Baker is on the Commissioner Exempt list and facing four armed robbery charges, which is why people Giants owner Mara hopeful , stands with players on concerns . The Associated Press.

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Mara was optimistic and frank in discussing coach Joe Judge, general manager Dave Gettleman, arrested cornerback DeAndre Baker, and the desire to see the struggling franchise play meaningful games in December for a change.

Mara does not think fans will be able to attend games at MetLife Stadium this season because of New Jersey restrictions regarding coronavirus. He acknowledged some NFL teams will have a competitive advantage because their home states will allow fans to attend games, adding that's something teams will have to accept in this strange season.

“If we get to a point where the state believes that we can do this safely, then we’ll consider letting fans in the building,” he said. “But I’m not sure that we’re at that point right now.”

The 65-year-old Mara said he had doubts this spring there would be a season because of the outbreak of the virus. He is now optimistic it will be played because the NFL protocols dealing with the virus have been effective. Hiccups might happen, he added.

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He also shot down any thought the Mara family was planning to sell the interest it has had in the team since 1925.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” said Mara, who co-owns the team with the Tisch family.

Mara has been impressed Judge, who was hired in January to replace Pat Shurmur after two seasons. He said the former Patriots special teams co-ordinator is a hard worker who sees the big picture, and someone who has gotten his players to buy into his system.

Mara refused to put a win total on what would be considered a successful season, but he and co-owner Steve Tisch want the same thing for a franchise that has made the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl in February 2012.

“I want to feel like when we walk off the field after the last game that we play, whenever that is, that we’re moving in the right direction,” Mara said. “That we have the pieces in place to compete for a Super Bowl.”

Mara refused to be pinned down about Gettleman's future. The team won nine games in his first two years in change.

Mara indicated the team planned to make a decision soon on the status of Baker, who was arrested in the off-season on armed robbery charges. A first-round pick last year, Baker is on the commissioner's exempt list and does not count on the roster.

Mara said nothing in Baker's background check indicated he would have this type of problem.

Gettleman drew some criticism in 2019 for drafting quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth pick overall. However, the Duke product had a good rookie season despite 23 turnovers.

“He showed a lot of grit and a lot of promise and made a lot of big plays," Mara said of Jones. “I think with the right supporting cast around him, I think the sky is the limit for him.”

Mara has been attending Giants training camps for six decades. He said this has been the most difficult because of the virus, social unrest and having a new coaching staff take over in a period where virtual teaching was mandatory.

The Giants (4-12) kick off the season on Sept. 14 at home against Pittsburgh.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Tom Canavan, The Associated Press

Giants waive Baker, cornerback facing armed robbery charges .
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have waived cornerback DeAndre Baker with the 22-year-old facing armed robbery charges relating to an incident in Florida in May. The Giants announced the move on Tuesday, less than a week after co-owner John Mara said the team was close to a decision on Baker's future with the club. Baker has been on the commissioner’s exempt list since July 27. Two weeks later, he was formally charged with four counts of robbery with a firearm stemming from an incident at a house party in Miramar, Florida. Baker has not participated in any Giants activities since the alleged robbery.

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