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Volume 25 No. 151

Sports in Society

Goodell earlier this week listened attentively for eight hours as defense attorneys and others spoke

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's presence at a Players Coalition-led event Tuesday in New Orleans "shows that the NFL is genuine in its desire to help fix the fault lines in our country," according to Nancy Armour of USA TODAY. Goodell "spent almost nine hours" with Saints Owner Gayle Benson, President Dennis Lauscha, DE Cameron Jordan, TE Benjamin Watson and LB Demario Davis at a New Orleans courtroom "getting a crash course on the inequities of the cash-bond system, the broad powers of district attorneys and the dangers those can present, and the challenges associated with re-entry" to society after serving jail time. Goodell "more than once" asked what the NFL could do to help. Goodell said, "How do we make an impact? I think we have a better understanding of the problems. What are the solutions?" Armour notes the NFL, after meeting with members of the Players Coalition last season, eventually agreed to contribute $90M to "social justice efforts." Cynics said that the league was "trying to buy the players' silence," and the player protests have "mostly ended." But the players were "never protesting for the sake of protesting," they were "protesting to drive change." If the NFL and Goodell were not "sincere, the commissioner would have shown up once, made his presence known with a media blitz and then disappeared." But Goodell has been an "active, if under-the-radar, partner." Goodell's participation is "not meant to overshadow or hijack the work the players have done." Davis said that Goodell's involvement "cannot be overlooked" (USA TODAY, 9/14).