In a new video released on Twitter, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said:
“We, the NFL, 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.” Goodell says.
Without black players there would be no National Football League and the protests across the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff.”
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. 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. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
Per TheHill, the message comes after players and others had slammed an earlier statement from Goodell last weekend responding to the death of George Floyd, a black man whose death in Minneapolis police custody sparked nationwide protests against racism.
Players had also vowed they would not be silenced as they continued protests and advocacy in the upcoming football season. In a video released this week, players specifically asked the NFL to support black players, call out racism and admit “wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting.”
The NFL faced controversy over its policies and handling of players taking a knee in protest against police brutality during the playing of the National Anthem at games, most notably during its 2018 season.
At one point the league issued a policy that was later halted due to backlash, which required players to “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem” when on the field. Under the policy, a club would also be “fined by the league if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”
The policy came after President Trump and some conservatives began criticizing protests during the anthem, claiming they were disrespectful to the flag.