Larry Fitzgerald Salutes NFL for Recognizing Juneteenth

Howard Balzer

The NFL made news Friday with the announcement that a week from now, June 19, also known as Juneteenth, will result in the league offices being closed to commemorate the 1865 date when Union soldiers informed the state of Texas that slaves were free.

Nike announced Thursday that it also will close its offices.

Much of this comes in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, but also the decision by the President to hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that day.

Tulsa was also the site of massive race riots from May 31-June 1, 1921, when white people on the ground and with private aircraft, attacked black people and businesses, destroying more than 35 square blocks of what was known as “Black Wall Street.” It has been referred to as “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.”

Speaking to reporters Friday, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald talked about the league decision.

“I think the NFL is taking some great steps,” Fitzgerald said. “First of all, it was big for the commissioner to come out and say what he said about the events of 2017 (when Colin Kaepernick sparked the kneeling of players during the national anthem) and how they wish they could have done a better job. That's not an easy thing to do. So I commend commissioner Goodell for that and also the open dialogue with players that he's had and really checking the pulse of the players.”

Fitzgerald revealed he has spoken to Goodell, and said, “I've developed a really strong relationship with him and I feel like his heart is in the right place. He wants to be on the right side of history. He wants to make sure he's doing things that position our game to continue to grow and to be a game that's loved and appreciated by everyone; trying to find that harmony. I'm happy that we're trending in the right direction on this issue. It helps that we continue to gain traction by doing things like recognizing Juneteenth and other things that are important to not only African-Americans, but everybody that loves and watches the game.”

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