NFL Condemns Racism: “We Were Wrong” Not To Listen To NFL Player Protests
National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell said in a recorded video released Friday that the league was “wrong” for not listening to players who protested against police brutality and social injustice, according to CNBC.
Goodell “used the roughly 80-second recorded message not only to ‘condemn the systemic oppression of black people’ but also to admit fault for not listening to its players ‘earlier.’”
He also said he wants players to continue their protests, voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement and offered his own participation.
“I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League,” Goodell said.
His statement comes amid a second week of nationwide protests after George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes during an arrest.
The NFL has come under fire since Floyd’s death, as the image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck is being compared to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racism and oppression. The moved sparked years of controversy, lawsuits, an eventual settlement, and a blown attempt to reconcile after Kaepernick was blackballed.
Goodell made a previous statement on Floyd’s death and subsequent protests on May 30, offering condolences to Floyd’s family as well as the families of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed by a white man while out for a jog in Georgia.
The statement read in part: “hese tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."
After Goodell’s first statement, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told CNBC’s Closing Bell on Tuesday that the NFL must “prove to all of us that they mean what they say.”
“Certain people among the ranks of police are racist or are afraid of people who don’t look like them,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I think all of us would serve this issue if we can make friends with someone who doesn’t look like us. I think that is a key issue here, that too much of people’s humanity and their right to be a part of the American dream, that’s not recognized all the time, and that’s very unfortunate.”
The New York Times reported that Goodell’s latest remarks were in “response to a video montage featuring star players asking the league to address systemic racism” — and also followed President Donald Trump’s tweet rekindling public debate over players kneeling during the national anthem.
“Trump defended New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who said this week that it was disrespectful to kneel during the pregame playing of the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” The Times wrote.