Over the past couple of weeks, several athletes and many others have made their voices heard on the racial injustices in America following the death of George Floyd. A number of NFL stars released a joint video statement late Thursday evening, requesting the league to speak up more on the matter.
The NFL had previously released a statement last Saturday expressing condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, but it didn't speak on the racism that black Americans are constantly faced with.
On Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a strong response to his players, condemning racism and admitting the league was wrong in not listening to its players earlier.
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," Goodell said. "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."
Below is a transcript of Goodell's entire statement:
It has been a difficult time in our country, in particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all the families that 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 a 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 move forward together for a better and more united NFL family.
These issues were first brought to the NFL forefront in 2016, when ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the national anthem as a way to peacefully protest and raise awareness for racial injustice in America. Kaepernick has not played a snap since he parted ways with the 49ers following that season.
Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said Friday that he, along with many of his peers, plan to kneel for the anthem when the season returns this fall.
Goodell's statement, which directly addressed police brutality and racial injustices in America, is a sign the NFL is moving in the right direction regarding these issues.
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