NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has condemned racism and apologized for silencing players’ protests against systemic racism in the U.S.
Recall that Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career came to an end after he took a knee to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
Goodell has now released a statement on behalf of the league stating that “we were wrong” in handling the issue of player protest.
The statement released on Friday, June 5, comes after 10 days of protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in cities nationwide.
The protests received an outpouring of support from the black NFL community who released a video calling for an end to racial injustice.
“We will not be silenced. We assert our right to peacefully protest,” players said. “It shouldn’t take this long to admit.”
NFL acknowledged the video by sharing it through its official Twitter account with the caption: “Players, we hear you.”
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
In another video message posted on the NFL’s official Twitter page, Goodell acknowledged the difficult time African Americans are facing in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and a number of other black people by police. He also sent his condolences to the families of Floyd, Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others who have died as a result of police brutality.
Goodell said: “We, the National Football League, 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. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League.”
Goodell’s video statement came hours after more than a dozen NFL players came together to call on the league to denounce racism and systemic oppression, as well as admit wrong in its efforts to keep players from silently protesting, such as in the form of kneeling during the national anthem, most notably by Colin Kapernick.
After Goodell’s video condemning racism was posted to the NFL’s official Twitter account, Twitter users said his apology will only be complete if the league apologizes to Colin Kaepernick.
Since 2017, no team has offered Kapernick a contract, which has been attributed to his protests. He’s accused NFL team owners of collusion, keeping him from getting signed – a claim the league has denied.
Below is a video of Goodell’s statement.