Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, NESN.com is publishing a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways, and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.

For 2 1/2 months, COVID-19 dominated the news cycle. But things have changed in the last week or so.

On May 25, George Floyd died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd’s death came shortly after the tragic deaths of two other black people — Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville, Ky., in her own home, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed in February by two men claiming Arbery been a suspect in a local break-in. All three were unarmed.

Video of Floyd’s death quickly went viral, and protests began sprouting up across the nation. Protests have occurred in all 50 states in the last week, including several here in New England.

New England athletes and teams have been quick to respond to the unrest. In the last three days alone, nearly every major league sports team in New England has released some sort of statement or comments about the ongoing protests.

We’ll start with the New England Patriots, the most recent team to release a statement. The Kraft family said its “eyes, ears and hearts are open” while acknowledging “there remains much work to be done.”

The first local team to post a statement, however, was the Connecticut Sun. The squad renewed its vow “to take even more action, by using our voices and platforms to raise awareness and funds for organizations who are working tirelessly to eradicate injustices in our community” and plan on taking “a leadership role in ensuring meaningful change.”

Then there are the Boston Bruins and Red Sox, who posted separate yet powerful statements Tuesday condemning “bigotry, ignorance and senseless violence” in all forms while lauding those players peacefully supporting the search for justice.

The Red Sox also posted an image of the phrase “Black Lives Matter” written on the Green Monster.

The Bruins, meanwhile, participated in the #BlackoutTuesday trend that swept the nation.

Several other teams — including the Boston Cannons, Boston Pride, New England Revolution (who put out a statement Tuesday) and Boston Celtics  — participated in #BlackoutTuesday, as well.

The Celtics, however, perhaps have been the most active team amid the unrest. Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter, and Vincent Poirier marched in Boston’s peaceful protests Sunday to show their support for the movement. Smart told NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely the players were there to stand for justice.

“Despite color or gender, the truth is the truth, justice is justice — and justice hasn’t been served,” Smart said. “And people are pissed off about it. So we’re here to keep George Floyd’s name alive and keep it going in his legacy. And you know, something has to change, and we’re here to make a change.”

Kanter appeared at the protest earlier in the day. The 28-year-old made a few powerful comments in front of hundreds of onlookers before joining an “I can’t breathe” chant on Boston Common.

And then, of course, there’s Jaylen Brown. The 23-year-old traveled a whopping 15 hours down to participate in Saturday’s peaceful protests in his hometown of Atlanta. (The NBPA saluted his efforts Tuesday, too.)

The four players made such a splash this weekend, the Celtics released a statement Sunday night praising them and other players, employees, partners and fans that are “committed to championing the change we need.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens chimed in Tuesday, noting his willingness to help support the cause in any way he can, though he knows he and other white coaches can’t fully “know the depth of the pain of the colleagues that are Black.” That said, Stevens believes NBA coaches have a “responsibility” to “drive change” during critical times like these.

“I think being able to be a listener, hearing our players talk about profiling, talk about discrimination, being empathetic towards that but also being able to acknowledge that I may not know the depth of that,” he said during a Zoom conference call with reporters. “But know I’m with you. If you need me, I’m here, and we’ve got a lot of people that are here, and we want to help.”

But it’s not just New England athletes and teams taking a stand. Athletes across the entire nation also are finding their voices. Some of today’s biggest names in sports have spoken up, including pro golfer Tiger Woods, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, ex-NBA star Jalen Rose, Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler and even NBA legend Michael Jordan — just to name a few. And some of them have had some pretty powerful messages.

This isn’t the first protests we’ve seen over racial injustice in this country in the last decade (or few decades, rather), but things feel different this time around. At least, they do for me.

It’s not that athletes taking a stand is new. It’s not. But it’s helped force change in this country when it’s been needed most, especially in terms of civil rights. (Think Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Wilma Rudolph … the greats.) The only thing different this time around is that it’s not just one voice. It’s dozens, if not hundreds of voices speaking the same message loud and clear: The time for equality is now. It’s something we haven’t seen the likes of in quite some time, if ever. And it could make a big difference in this everlasting fight.

There are plenty of prominent athletes using their voices to spark change in 2020, too. It’s just hard to pick one that stands out the most — at least, right now. But no one’s saying there needs to be a singular voice to lead the charge. It might not be the end-all, be-all, but if athletes can unify their voices, it certainly will be hard to ignore.

It’s happened before, and it can happen again.

Here are a few more tidbits from Tuesday’s news:

— The COVID-19 pandemic has been more of a speedbump for the NFL than a roadblock.

The NFL expects most teams will be able to open their respective facilities by the end of the week, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday. Fowler said the league is “optimistic” about holding full training camps this summer, but they’re “preparing for alternatives.”

“There could be a few exceptions but league at-large will have (the) option to operate in (the) building,” Fowler tweeted. “Some teams still planning to keep coaches away until camp.”

There still are two months left for the league to iron things out.

— The NBA, meanwhile, reportedly has found a home for the rest of its 2019-20 season.

The league will complete the season at Coronado Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., according to Yahoo! Sports’ Keith Smith. The site is located nearby the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex, where the NBA hopes to play the remainder of its games.

Major League Soccer also is considering Orlando as a hub city for resuming play. And, as Smith has pointed out, the resort has plenty of space to accommodate both leagues, too.

Disney World plans on beginning a phased reopening plan by July 11, roughly three weeks before the NBA is hoping to resume its season. (Can you say chaos?)

— Speaking of MLS, the league appeared to be on the brink of a lockout Monday. But things appeared to take a positive turn Tuesday.

MLS and the MLS Players’ Association are “cautiously optimistic” about avoiding a lockout, ESPN’s Taylor Twellman reported Tuesday. The ex-MLS star called the recent talks “a major breakthrough” as Wednesday’s noon deadline quickly approaches.

A formal deal was expected to be presented to the MLSPA later Tuesday, per ESPN, with a formal vote to follow.

Like many leagues, finances have been a major sticking point for MLS. So it’s certainly encouraging (for me, anyway) to see at least one league find a compromise on such a touchy issue, and gives me hope for other leagues struggling with a similar issue. (I’m looking at you, Major League Baseball.)

Stat of the Day
A legend turned 40 on Tuesday.

Tweet of the Day
We’re not surprised, either.

Video of the Day
Brad Stevens reveals how he’s been talking about this issue with his family.

More COVID-19: NHL Planning On Testing Players Daily Should Games Eventually Resume

Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images