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NFL plans to observe Juneteenth as league holiday

NFL plans to observe Juneteenth as league holiday

The NFL plans to recognize Juneteenth as a league holiday.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement to league employees on Friday in an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press.

Juneteenth is considered the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. It was originally celebrated on June 19, the day that Union soldiers in 1865 told enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and they were free.

"This year, as we work together as a family and in our communities to combat the racial injustices that remain deeply rooted into the fabric of our society, the NFL will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19th as a recognized holiday and our league offices will be closed," Goodell said in the memo. "It is a day to reflect on our past, but more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future."

On Thursday, the NFL announced it is committing $250 million over 10 years to social justice initiatives, targeting what it calls "systemic racism" and supporting "the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African Americans."

RELATED: NFL, GOODELL ADMITS THEY WERE WRONG FOR NOT LISTENING TO PLAYERS

Last week, Goodell in a video denounced racism, apologized for not listening to players sooner and promised to support their peaceful protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Colin Kaepernick began raising awareness for these problems by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

George Floyd's death has ignited nationwide protests and sparked players and leaders to push for change.

"The power of this historical feat in our country's blemished history is felt each year, but there is no question that the magnitude of this event weighs even more heavily today in the current climate," Goodell said in the memo. "Juneteenth not only marks the end of slavery in the United States, but it also symbolizes freedom -- a freedom that was delayed, and brutally resisted; and though decades of progress followed, a freedom for which we must continue to fight."

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DeAngelo Hall clarifies regret of not signing with Patriots: 'My heart was always in Washington'

DeAngelo Hall clarifies regret of not signing with Patriots: 'My heart was always in Washington'

Back in July, former Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall told NFL Network that his biggest career regret was signing with Washington in 2009 rather than the New England Patriots.

"Over a few million, I could've changed my legacy by being part of that dynasty," Hall said. "That was on the table for me, and I wish I would've made the decision to take less money and play for Belichick."

That, of course, quickly riled up Washington supporters on social media. Though it's understandable that Hall, and probably numerous other players, would look back and regret not signing with a team that racked up several Super Bowls, many took it as a direct slight to the Washington franchise. During an interview with Julie Donaldson, Hall, who will join Washington's radio booth for the 2020 season, explained his true feelings on the 2009 situation.

RELATED: HALL EXPLAINS WHY HE'S EXCITED TO JOIN RADIO TEAM

Saying he had regrets about not signing with the Patriots was not a diss to Washington, because the reason he ultimately stayed in the DMV was due to his love for the team and its fans.

“My heart was always in Washington and it was no hesitation in my mind to sign my contract and continue being a member of the Washington Football team," Hall said.

Hall admitted that the chance to win in New England is something he still thinks about. But, that really shouldn't come as a surprise. Now removed from his NFL career, hindsight is 20/20 and almost any player would look back on a potential opportunity to further their legacy with a ring as a missed shot.

Hall is no different, but it doesn't mean he didn't appreciate his time with the Burgundy and Gold. In nine full seasons in Washington, he gained valuable experiences that helped transform him into who he is today.

"But that didn’t happen and it’s made me a better person because of it," Hall said referring to him not signing with New England. "Washington has taught me so many life-long lessons."

Though he doesn't have a Super Bowl ring, the DMV native and Virginia Tech alum got the opportunity to play for his hometown team and cement his own legacy in Washington. So although he may look back and ponder what could have gone differently, he understands he can't change the past. He's okay -- and happy -- with that.

To him, Washington was always meant to be.

"C’mon man. Was there ever any doubt that I was not staying in Washington? Nobody would have believed you," Hall said. "100 percent, I’m Washington for sure.”

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Enjoy a closer look at the new Washington Football Team helmets

Enjoy a closer look at the new Washington Football Team helmets

As NFL teams prepare for the truncated preseason, the Washington Football Team's equipment managers are preparing for an entirely new look. The team already unveiled its new-look uniforms and helmets, and it shared a closeup look for fans on Instagram Wednesday night.

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‪Helmets are ready for tomorrow!!‬

A post shared by Washington Equipment (@washington_eq) on

The helmets have been a major hit among fans online since being revealed, so any time they can get up close and personal, they'll be happy.

RELATED: NFL UNVEILS NEW OAKLEY MOUTH SHIELD TO MITIGATE CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

As the opener grows nearer, fans will continue to be excited for any glimpse of the new uniforms, helmets and players ahead of the 2020 season. As long as the uniforms look this great, we'll take any more videos from the equipment team, please and thank you.

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