Goodell Reinforces NFL's Support For Players Regarding Protests
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "reiterated the league's support for players fighting for racial justice and protesting police violence," according to Rob Maaddi of the AP. Goodell yesterday said, "The NFL stands with the Black community, the players, clubs and fans. Confronting recent systemic racism with tangible and productive steps is absolutely essential. We will not relent in our work. We will redouble our efforts to be catalysts for the urgent and sustainable change that our society and communities so desperately need." NFL Exec VP/Football Operations Troy Vincent said of the league's owners, "I do believe that the club owners are at a place over the last few years, it's taken some a little longer than others, but it becomes a heart issue. And they do have an appreciation for humanity and they understand that we have to do this together. The players can't do it alone. The players understand that they can’t do without club owners. Club owners understand that it takes all of us to get to where we want to get as a better society" (AP, 9/1). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Charean Williams noted Goodell took "only two questions during his surprise media session" yesterday, and both were related to COVID-19. But Vincent did address a question about players possibly "sitting out games in protest" (NBCSPORTS.com, 9/1).
COULD PLAYERS SIT OUT? In Detroit, Dave Birkett notes Vincent "acknowledged the possibility that NFL players could sit out Week 1 games in an extended protest." Vincent: "They all have the choice, the individual choice and right to either sit out or protest" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/2). Vincent said that the biggest issue NFL players "want to see resolved: police accountability." Vincent: "It's really time for us to dig into what we talk about as police reform. ... Players want to see us leveraging our influence to hold officers that are bad officers to be held accountable." He added, "That is the area of focus -- police accountability -- where they'd really like to see us focus our efforts" (USA TODAY, 9/2).
MAKING A STAND: NBC SPORTS BAY AREA's Monte Poole wrote there have been "powerful statements by people of profile" across the sports world regarding racial injustice and police brutality, but "not one strong word of public support from an NFL owner." There are some "well-crafted statements, yes, but not one emotional call to action." Poole: "Not one authentic tear." There was a "bit of traction Sunday," with Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie acknowledging the history of oppression and "implied that many of his colleagues are in the process of joining him." But hearing from the mouths of Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft that America's "sordid history is real and a scourge on our nation would stop at least a few folks in their tracks." It is "a lot to ask those in ownership suites of the almighty NFL to get over themselves and grow a conscience and act on it." But the "timing feels right" (NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com, 9/1).