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Group of players asks NFL to support activism awareness month

Malcolm Jenkins

Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins raises his fist during the national anthem before the team’s NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


The NFL will wrap itself in pink for breast cancer, and put on faux-camo to celebrate the military.

Now, a group of players have asked commissioner Roger Goodell to spend a month talking about black and white.

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, a group of four current and former players sent the league a memo in August asking for the NFL’s help campaigning for racial equality and criminal justice reform. The letter was signed by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin and Eagles wideout Torrey Smith.

The 10-page letter to Goodell and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent also asked the league to endorse efforts to promote an activism awareness month.

Neither the league, nor the players who signed the memo commented, citing an agreement to keep direct communications with Goodell private.

The memo requested the league to invest time and education, political involvement, finances and other commitments from the league. They also asked the league to endorse November as the time to celebrate their cause.

The league is all too happy to promote safer topics (as in, who can possibly be against cancer or the military?) , and will also be delighted to sell you some merchandise to show how much they care.

“To be clear, we are asking for your support,” part of the memo (which can be read in full here) reads. “We appreciate your acknowledgement on the call regarding the clear distinction between support and permission. For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community. There are a variety of ways for you to get involved. Similar to the model we have in place for players to get involved, there are three tiers of engagement based on your comfort level. To start, we appreciate your agreement on making this an immediate priority. In your words, from Protest to Progress, we need action.”

The players who signed the letter have been among the most outspoken and thoughtful — and active — regarding issues of inequality.