Players Coalition calls to end qualified immunity

Letter in support of bipartisan bill garners 1,400 signatures

June 10th, 2020

More than 1,400 current and former players, coaches and general managers from MLB, the NFL and the NBA have signed a letter from the Players Coalition to Congress in support of a bill that calls for an end to qualified immunity.

Tim Anderson, Chris Archer, Alex Bregman, J.P. Crawford, Delino DeShields Jr., Jack Flaherty, Dexter Fowler, Niko Goodrum, Dee Gordon, Tony Gwynn Jr., Matt Kemp, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, CC Sabathia and Giancarlo Stanton are among the current and former MLB players who signed the letter.

Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that protects government officials from lawsuits alleging that they violated a plaintiff’s rights, except in cases where their actions violated "clearly established" federal laws. The doctrine makes it difficult to sue police officers for brutality. 

United States Representatives Justin Amash (Libertarian, Michigan) and Ayanna Pressley (Democrat, Massachusetts) introduced a bipartisan bill to end qualified immunity last Thursday in response to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police. Floyd’s death while in police custody on May 25 was captured on video and has sparked protests around the U.S. and internationally. 

"We are tired of conversations around police accountability that go nowhere, and we have engaged in too many 'listening sessions,' where we discuss whether there is a problem of police violence in this country," the Players Coalition wrote in its letter to Congress. "There is a problem. The world witnessed it when Officer [Derek] Chauvin murdered George Floyd, and the world is watching it now, as officers deploy enormous force on peaceful protestors like those who were standing outside of the White House last week. 

"The time for debate about the unchecked authority of the police is over; it is now time for change."