The National Football League has taken an admirable step in being a part of the social change sweeping America. The league announced support for the Black Lives Matter movement by donating $250M over the next ten years. The goal is to combat systemic racism and social injustice faced by African-Americans and minorities. The league’s efforts will include supporting programs to address criminal justice reform, police reforms, and economic and educational advancements. This week, the NFL announced their recognition of Juneteenth (the oldest celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States) as a paid employee holiday.
The NFL and Players Coalition (negotiates with owners on behalf of players) initially agreed to $100M. In the first two-years of the Players Coalition agreement, the NFL has donated $44M to fund social justice work including grants to 20 organizations and funding to 350 grassroots programs. The league intends on leveraging their network and media properties in raising awareness and making a difference.
Commissioner Roger Goodell released a 90-second video expressing regret about the league’s response to player protesting police brutality.
Saints and Pelicans Owner Gayle Benson made a statement on George Floyd’s death, protests, peace, unity, and finding solutions. She offered an insightful response to the tragedy by selecting three athletes in her organizations, Pelicans Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick, and Saints LB Demario Davis, to be members of her organization, Social Justice Leadership Coalition. The purpose of the organization is to advocate for social change in black and brown minority communities in the United States.
The New Orleans Saints announced their stance with social justice marches with the “BE in that Number” campaign. Their position is to stand with those marching in the name of social justice.
Hopefully, those in charge of the NFL will continue their support of a genuine change in the country. Professional football in the United States is a sport comprising young African-American young men. 70% of the NFL players, African-Americans, have their humanity challenged every day away from protecting the stadiums, practice facilities, and team headquarters. They may need to hear a more vocal way of support from the owners; to know they gave their respect as humans and not commodities which help yield billions of dollars per year. Kyle T. Mosley, Saints News Network