For many Americans, this latest evolution of the civil rights discussion in our nation began with Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem while he was still playing in the NFL.
The decision was a bold one, drawing the ire of a huge swath of the nation who fell as though disrespecting the National Anthem was far too offensive and therefore the controversy would overshadow his message.
Then, when Kaepernick was suddenly not playing for any NFL team, many fans believed that it was because of his protest – not on account of his talent level. This prompted many fans and players to speak out against the league for their inaction.
Today, Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for just that.
“It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country,” Goodell said in a video released Friday. “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. 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.”
The NFL suffered tremendous financial losses during the Kaepernick kneeling fiasco, as patriotic Americans declared that they would not be tuning in or buying tickets on account of the League’s unwillingness to put an end to the protests themselves.
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