Saints recognizing Juneteenth as a company holiday
The New Orleans Saints are recognizing Juneteenth for the first time as company staff and its players will have a paid day off.
As first reported by ESPN’s Mike Triplett, Saints owner Gayle Benson and President Dennis Lauscha made the decision last week to observe the holiday this upcoming Friday, June 19th. The holiday will also be observed by the New Orleans Pelicans as well.
Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in January of 1863, the news did not reach the entire country.
The news finally made its way down to Galveston, Texas on June 19th,1865. There the Proclamation was read to the slaves and they commenced to dancing and singing in joy. The holiday has been celebrated by generations ever since.
The Saints are the 18th NFL team to officially acknowledge the holiday publicly, while the NFL league office itself will be closed on Friday. Other major corporations such as Google and Nike have also decided to give their employees time off for Juneteenth.
Not only have race relations been a hot button issue nationally, but the New Orleans Saints have dealt with it head-on recently.
Stemming from the comments Drew Brees made to Yahoo Fiance regarding kneeling and the National Anthem, some in the locker room called Brees out for what was in their opinion insensitive comments to make in wake of what was happening in the country,
Brees then went on his social media platform to issue an apology for the comments he made and vowed to work with his teammates in creating positive change. He also issued an apology to them in a virtual team meeting where he once again addressed his teammates regarding his comments.
Teammates like Demario Davis, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and others showed their public support for Brees and thanked him for his leadership displayed by facing his comments head on.