The Arizona Cardinals made Juneteenth, June 19, a permanent holiday for employees throughout the organization, as reported by team reporter Darren Urban on Wednesday.
Urban wrote that Michael Bidwill made the announcement to staff via email on Tuesday morning. Per Urban, the email said it was so that the franchise could “reflect on the history of civil rights in the United States and how we can all work together for a much better future.”
When Union troops arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which said: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”
The next year, former slaves started celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston, and it eventually reached other states.
One of the Cardinals’ most prominent players, Larry Fitzgerald, is from Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd died in the custody of police officers. It was Floyd’s death that’s sparked a national conversation about race and justice in America. He recently wrote an article that was published in the New York Times. Fitzgerald and his teammates also have spoken to the local media about the movement in America.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury also recently gave players a day off, allowing them to pay tribute during the first day of memorial services for Floyd.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.