LOS ANGELES - The NFL announced on Friday that it will observe Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, as a recognized holiday.
"This year, as we work together as a family and in our communities to combat the racial injustices that remain deeply rooted into the fabric of our society, the NFL will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19th as a recognized holiday and our league offices will be closed," wrote NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an internal memo to teams and staff. "It is a day to reflect on our past, but more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future."
The announcement follows public support from the NFL and Goodell for the recent protests that have erupted across the country condemning police brutality and racial injustice.
On Thursday, the league said it will commit $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 players in the league who had previously spoken out against systemic racism in the U.S.
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.”
Read Goodell’s memo on Juneteenth here: