NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a video on Friday stating the organization was wrong for not listening to the Black Lives Matter movement. Goodell went on to denounce racism in the United States in response to the “Stronger Together” video, in which more than 15 NFL players demanded the organization take responsibility for silencing players.
Players such as Patrick Mahomes, Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, and Zeke Elliot condemned the league’s decision to ignore issues surrounding racism in the viral video. The video was put together by New Orlean star Michael Thomas, who organized the video after teammate Drew Brees condemned players for kneeling during the anthem.
In 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines for kneeling during the national anthem before a game. His silent protest bought attention to systemic racism: “‘[I am] not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.” Shortly after, Kaepernick lost his NFL career, and other clubs refused to sign him.
Four years on, players are finally being heard.
Goodell spoke in a video posted on the official NFL Twitter page, and offered his condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all families who have endured police brutality.
“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,” said Goodell in the video. “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
Critics of Goodell’s apology noted that Colin Kaepernick was not mentioned.
Even Trump had something to say about the apology. Don’t you have a country to run?
These comments come after nationwide protests over police brutality against people of color.