Roger Goodell Responds to NFL Players’ Black Lives Matter Protests

FILE PHOTO: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference following the NFL owners autumn meeting in New York City, U.S., October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell condemned racism, admitted a mistake in judgement and ultimately showed he is willing to listen to the players.

One day after the NFL Players Association united some of its biggest stars for a wish list of things they wanted to hear from the league amidst nationwide protests of George Floyd’s murder and other police-involved deaths, Goodell delivered nearly word-for-word on the request in a video released Friday night to social media.

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodell said from his home. “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 might not be perfect — the players asked for an admission of wrong in “silencing our players from peacefully protesting” — but it is a big step from the years of the league not giving an inch after Colin Kaepernick and others began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest social injustice.

The NFL’s first attempt at a response — a written statement last weekend — was deemed by players to fall far short of the mark. For starters, it referred to “tragic events” and “current events” but not the root of the issue.

This time, Goodell struck a more specific chord.

“It has been a difficult time for our country, in particular black people in our country,” Goodell said. “First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality.”

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SOURCE: The New York Post, Ryan Dunleavy