Ravens' Calais Campbell not in favor of boycotting games as protest

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell isn't in favor of boycotting games as a form of protest.

Campbell, who is a member of the NFL Players Association executive committee, believes skipping games isn't the best way to bring about social justice.

"I feel our voices are stronger when we're on the field," Campbell said Saturday. "Our voices are stronger if we can play well enough to be in that last game in February. That's when our voice is strongest."

Campbell did emphasize that he wasn't speaking for all players, adding, "But everybody has their own opinions and we'll talk through it and try to make decisions that are best for all of us."

The NFL kicks off its regular season in less than two weeks. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs play host to the Houston Texans in the league's season-opening game on Sept. 10.

Campbell wasn't the only player on Saturday to support playing games while trying to promote social justice reform.

"We have to be all in," Jets quarterback Sam Darnold said. "We have to continue playing because, quite frankly, the reason we have a platform is because we play football and we are in the NFL. That was a huge point to all the guys: We have to continue playing, we have to continue to push our message across and get our points across to everyone. If we stop playing, that platform can be taken away from us."

Several NFL teams canceled practices and other football activities in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

On Thursday, the Ravens practiced in the morning but spent the afternoon talking for 2 1/2 hours about the specific changes they wanted to make. The team released a statement that called for the arrest of the officers responsible for Breonna Taylor's killing in Louisville and the shooting of Blake.

Campbell said players talked briefly about a potential backlash from the statement.

"It didn't last too long because so many guys are passionate about really making a difference," Campbell said. "I feel like God gave us this platform. I truly believe God gave me the ability to play football to inspire people and to use this gift to make the world a better place. It's my duty to really stand for what I believe in."

ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini contributed to this article