In the midst of protests, outrage, violence, deep sadness, and a country on the brink over the senseless killing of George Floyd a few weeks ago, the NFL offered a statement.
The NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a video statement on its social media channels that included three words many were waiting to hear, “we were wrong.”
We can only hope the NFL and Goodell are referring to their response to the peaceful protests of Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem to take a stand against police brutality and racial injustice during the 2016 season and the NFL’s failed attempt to listen to the concerns of black players and use their platform for social change.
Kaepernick never threw another pass in the NFL after the 2016 NFL season and the efforts to bring a select group of players to NFL headquarters in New York to listen to their concerns and form an action plan amounted to very little.
The NFL and Commissioner Goodell needs to get it right this time. The NFL’s tremendous reach and influence can make a difference with generations of fans through education and action.
Teams are in the midst of their off-season meetings and many, including the Bears, have devoted time over the last week to letting players speak, hearing their concerns, thoughts and past experiences.
NFL FULL STATEMENT
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. 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. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff. We are listening. I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family,”
NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell
Using this opportunity as a chance to learn about the plights of their teammates, gain perspective and grow closer as friends and a team.
The teams that get this right over this offseason and come together as one will have a definite advantage on the field in September.
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