LOS ANGELES - Following public support for the recent protests that have erupted across the country condemning police brutality and racial injustice by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league has announced a contribution of $250 million over 10 years to social justice reform.
“The NFL and our clubs will continue to work collaboratively with NFL players to support programs to address criminal justice reform, police reforms, and economic and educational advancement,” wrote the NFL in a statement.
Last week, Goodell encouraged NFL players to “speak out and peacefully protest,” while apologizing for not listening to individuals in the league who had previously spoken out against systemic racism in the U.S.
“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.
When Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to take a stand against police brutality and racial injustice in 2016, he was mostly alone.
Politicians, team owners and fellow players criticized him, fans burned his jersey, and he was booed even at home. Four years later, his protest is widely viewed as prescient. Global opinion has shifted so much that more people are now vilifying those who attack Kaepernick or misrepresent his stance.
The NFL and its teams have voiced their support for equality and called for change. Players want to see more. In a video released June, 4, NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and several of his peers asked the league to “condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people” and “admit wrong in silencing players from peacefully protesting.”
Comments from Goodell and protests from NFL players are the latest a larger response from the professional sports world to the anti-racism protests that have spread around the globe following the death of George Floyd who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck on May 25.
Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand announced on June 5 that they would be donating $100 million over the next 10 years to “organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.”
In a statement released by Jordan’s manager to Twitter regarding the donation, the Jordan Brand referred to itself as “the Black Community.”
“The Jordan Brand is more than one man. It has always been a family,” read the statement. “It’s 2020, and our family now includes anyone who aspires to our way of life. Yet as much as things have changed, the worst remains the same.”