Earlier this week, we learned that despite the misinformation campaign being perpetuated by the White House, Mike Pence being used as a prop in Donald Trump’s clown show in trying to paint Black players as being unpatriotic and disrespectful to the flag, and a chorus of simple-minded sheep yelling about the supposed discourteousness being shown towards the military, Roger Goodell and the NFL showed that they’re beginning to understand what Colin Kaepernick and this movement of kneeling during the national anthem is truly all about.
Goodell and Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin jointly wrote a letter to Congressional leaders offering their “full support” to the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, which if passed, would reduce minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
“Over the last two seasons, one particular issue that has come to the forefront for our players and our teams is the issue of justice for all,” they wrote. “Last season, as part of our My Cause My Cleats initiative, several players chose to highlight equality and justice on their cleats, while others chose causes related to supporting the difficult work of law enforcement. These expressions of player advocacy aptly capture the challenges we currently face as a nation ensuring that every American has equal rights and equal protection under the law, while simultaneously ensuring that all law enforcement personnel have the proper resources, tools, and training and are treated with honor and respect.”
Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin invited Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to meet with and listen to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, grassroots organizations, policy leaders and public defenders in the city September 12th.
It’s evident that Goodell realized the folly of his ways in not getting ahead of the true essence of Kaepernick’s protest movement when he initially had the chance. Taking a knee was never about the flag, but rather bringing attention to social injustice, racism, police brutality and the other societal ills that have long plagued America.
Criminal justice reform was a paramount element to Kap taking a knee, along with others like Michael Bennett and civic-minded activists like Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin. The NFL, though late to the party, has arrived nonetheless in recognizing that they can play a substantive role in not only advancing the dialogue, but in helping to bring about substantive change.
Goodell spoke at a press conference yesterday saying that although the league believes its players should stand during the national anthem, the NFL has no plans to make them do so.
On Tuesday, a collection of 13 players, union leaders, 11 team owners and NFL executives met to discuss social issues and plans “to promote equality and effectuate positive change.”
Roger Goodell says the players were not asked to stand during the national anthem, and the players that were there say progress has been made.
When asked if he knew what the players were protesting in their gestures of taking a knee and raising a fist, Goodell said, “They’re talking about criminal justice reform, whether it’s bail reform. Whether it’s talking about mandatory sentencing. They’re talking about changes that, I think, will make our communities better — that there’s bipartisan support for and that need focus. They’re talking about what we can do to support them to effectuate that legislative change, and that’s, again, very, very positive. They’re talking about equality issues, making sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to give people an opportunity, whether it’s an education or economic and what we can do to try to effectuate that. And we believe, with the players, that we can help them, we can support them. And those are our issues, national issues, American issues that are all important.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to reporters following a meeting with team owners and players.
He went on to say, “”[Our discussions] reflected our commitment to work together with our players on issues of social justice. I will tell you that our players are men of great character. They have a very deep understanding and tremendous knowledge of the issues that are going on in all of our communities. Their commitment to addressing these issues is really admirable and something that I think our owners looked at as saying ‘We want to help you, support you. Those are issues that affect us. They’re our issues also. We’d like to do it together.'”
But in order to effectuate change in the larger society, the NFL must do some housekeeping of its own as it relates to Kaepernick’s job status. There’s no way that they can be taken seriously unless the larger elephant in the room is addressed, because the league continues to perpetuate the larger injustice by keeping Kap unemployed.
Michael Bennett will keep sitting during anthem and says player/owner dialogue should start w/ employing Kaepernick https://t.co/7A0VBn3ocS
I got to talk to the players in the owners meeting, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett told reporters on Wednesday. I think the first step to even being able to even have a conversation is to make sure that Colin Kaepernick gets an opportunity to play in the NFL. I think before we even negotiate anything about whether we sit or whether we stand, should be a negotiation about opening up the doors for Colin Kaepernick and give him an opportunity again, because I feel like through everything thats been lost, I think all of us are having opportunities to be able to speak to our employers, but to think about the guy who started everything not to be able to have a voice at this moment, it just doesnt seem very right to me.
Bennet was unequivocal in his stance that any discussions about the national anthem cannot be resolved while the blackballing of Kap remains stubbornly in place, and that all of the players at the forefront of the movement are in agreement on this very specific issue.
I dont think we can work alongside of them until we address that issue, said Bennett. I think the issue of Kaepernick is the start to a conversation if they want us to be open to what they want, the dialogue, then thats something that needs to be on the table right there.
Thank you @mosesbread72. As long as Kaepernick is effectively banned from the NFL, these talks are insincere. https://t.co/YutB6z9C67
Team owners, if they’re serious about working alongside the players to take a true stand with some demonstrable action steps, need to recuse themselves of the folly of Kap being forced out of the league for calling attention to the very issues that they now say they’re interested in helping to solve.