The NFL continues to make noise amongst one of the most critical times in the United States’ history. Last week, household name players, including Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, demanded the NFL finally stand behind condemning racism and the systemic oppression of black people in America.
An overwhelming percentage of the league’s players are Black, and they rightly want to see immediate change on league stances as well as having them admit the league was wrong to silence peacefully protesting players in years past. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed all player concerns in a video statement while encouraging players to peacefully protest injustice.
“It has been a difficult time for our country — in particular, black people in our country,” Goodell said. “First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality.“
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” he added. “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.”
Goodell closed with this final statement.
“I personally protest with you and want to be part of a 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.”
Veteran running back and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson said he, amongst other NFL players, would definitely be kneeling during the national anthem in 2020. This season will undoubtedly be one of the strongest marks of public protest, following the kneeling of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.