By Jim Berry

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was among the first voices in the NFL to speak out against what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis.

On Monday, Flores was on hand at Hard Rock Stadium as the Miami Dolphins revved up a plan to feed the hungry impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Flores, GM Chris Grier and team CEO Tom Garfinkel helped launch a program to hand out 1,000 healthy meals a day for the next year.

But while addressing one crisis, they could not ignore another.

“There’s an evil element in our country, irregardless. Watching those videos is watching pure evil,” Garfinkel said.

Garfinkel says the manner in which Floyd died a week ago is proof that it’s time for change.

Flores says it’s time for leaders at all levels to step up.

“If we can all take an opportunity to serve, and, you know, in doing so will bring people together,” Flores said. “I think that ultimately will create some change.”

In a statement last week, Flores said the knee that Floyd took to his neck is why Colin Kaepernick took a knee.

Kaepernick’s move ignited controversy, but also drove the NFL to address social injustice.

But now Garfinkel says it will take more than the NFL to tackle racism.

“This is a nationwide issue in our whole society,” he said “And every aspect of our society needs to find a way to prioritize finding justice and finding truth and making that something that is equal for everybody.”

That same message resonated in local protests over the weekend.

“Are you comfortable that Miami-Dade is addressing those deeper issues which could foster continuing poverty and institutional racism?” CBS4’s Jim Berry asked Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

“I think that we are making great strides. Do we have a long way to go? We have a long way to go,” Gimenez responded.

Gimenez pointed to the county’s job training effort as a start.

“We’ve trained thousands of people in those poor neighborhoods to get jobs, sometimes their first job. That’s the key, you know,” he said. “And when we have a strong economy, every sector of our community needs to participate in that strong economy.”

The Dolphins have taken that a step further, putting blacks in jobs that matter.

Flores and Grier are among only a handful of black head coaches and GMs in the NFL. It’s proof that a team that is taking time to feed the hungry is also willing to feed the dreams if anyone with ambition.

“The promise of equal opportunity for everybody needs to be fulfilled,” Garfinkel said.

The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, founded by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, might also lead its weight to this issue so the seeds to move ahead from Minneapolis might be planted right here in South Florida.

Jim Berry

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