The National Football League took heat from both current and veteran players for what was described at best as a tepid response and at worst as empty, hypocritical noise in their message of "support" for the George Floyd protestors and NFL players. So much so that over a dozen NFL players got together to record a video response entitled Stronger Together. In in, the players said they were looking for the league to own up to past mistakes, as well as take a much more proactive role in condemning racism and police brutality, and in supporting its Black players.
It would appear the NFL listened, with Commissioner Roger Goodell posting a video on behalf of the league on Friday where he admitted the league needs to do more to listen more closely and act more swiftly when it came to matters of race and complaints of racism: "We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter."
"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. It has been a difficult time for 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 who have endured police brutality."
On Thursday, NFL players Davante Adams, Jamal Adams, Saquon Barkley, Anthony Barr, Odell Beckham Jr., Ezekiel Elliott, Stephon Gilmore, DeAndre Hopkins, Eric Kendricks, Jarvis Landry, Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Mahomes, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Sterling Shepard, Michael Thomas, Deshaun Watson, and Chase Young released a video demanding the NFL acknowledge that they've been negligent in listening and responding to players' concerns about racism in the past. Players take serious issue with the league's willingness to stifle free speech and peaceful protest over matters like police brutality (in particular, how Colin Kaepernick was exiled from the NFL for taking a knee during the National Anthem for protesting that very thing). Here's a look at the video:
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"So on behalf of the National Football League, this is what we the players would like to hear you state. We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter."