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Roger Goodell Responds to Players' Video: 'We, the NFL, Believe Black Lives Matter'

On Friday evening, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to a video released by players calling on the league to issue a revised statement on the issue of systemic racism and police brutality. 

"We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People," Goodell said in the video. "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."

Goodell additionally said that he wants to "be part of the much-needed change" in the United States, adding that he plans on reaching out to players who have voiced their opinions on the situation. 

On Thursday, the 71-second video, which features Patrick Mahomes, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Tyrann Mathieu and Deshaun Watson, among others, called on the league to revise their initial statement.

The league released an initial statement last Saturday that was credited to Goodell. It said, in part, "The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country. The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.

"As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

However, players such as Eric Reid and Kenny Stills were among those who criticized the league's initial remarks. 

The NFL's comments come amid ongoing protests in the United States related to police brutality and racial injustice. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who was killed in Minneapolis last week after being violently apprehended by police.

Four Minneapolis police officers were fired last week after a viral video showed one of them kneeling on the neck of Floyd, who cried that he could not breathe.

Last Friday, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was was seen on video kneeling on Floyd's neck, was fired and then arrested on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. On Wednesday, the murder charge against Chauvin was elevated to second-degree murder.

It was also announced Wednesday that former officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng are facing charges of aiding and abetting murder.