Recent protests and civil unrest due to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers has shed new light the NFL and protests by some of its players.
In a video message, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated, “we were wrong” when it came to the way the NFL handled the issue of players’ protesting. He continues, “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.”
A number of players have released a video stating that they would not be silent and would continue to protest.
When he was the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick displayed a peaceful protest by kneeling during the performance of the National Anthem. His actions sparked a firestorm from both sides of the aisle. Eventually, the NFL ousted Kaepernick for his actions. He has not played football since.
In recent days, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has entered the fray when he issued a statement against kneeling in protest for which he is receiving much grief.
Goodell and the NFL are now supporting and allowing players to express their feelings with a peaceful protest and commentary on social injustice.
There are 30 teams in the National Football League with a predominant white administration and ownership; but a vast majority of the players are non-white.