NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is sorry.
And no, I don’t mean contrite. I mean he’s a fucking clown—with the red nose, clown car and oversized shoes to match.
He’s the exact type of “ally” Black people don’t need. The kind who magically appear once the dust settles and bloviates about what he would’ve done differently had he actually given a shit in the first place. The kind who walks by whistling as we continuously audition for our humanity. The kind who sat by twiddling his thumbs while Colin Kaepernick spent the prime of his NFL career in exile for committing the heinous crime of speaking out against racial injustice.
In the latest episode of Emmanuel Acho’s moving Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man YouTube series, the worst commissioner in professional sports is overcome with remorse over his resounding failure to properly address the NFL’s national anthem protests.
“The first thing I’d say is I wish we had listened earlier, Kap, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” Goodell said. “We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue. I wish we had the benefit of that. We never did.”
He also pulled a Drew Brees and reversed course on his interpretation of what the protests actually signify.
“It is not about the flag,” Goodell said. “These are not people who are unpatriotic. They’re not disloyal. They’re not against our military. In fact, many of those guys were in the military and they’re a military family.
“What they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. That misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”
It really gnawed at him so much that it took him nearly four years to publicly lend his support to players who peacefully protest—and only after George Floyd was executed by Minneapolis police, only after some of the biggest names in the league called him out for silencing Kaepernick and only after washing his hands of Kaepernick all together in December.
Goodell is full of shit.
He’s also a bold-faced liar.
First, he vehemently refuted the notion that Kap was being blackballed back in June 2017, then after clinging to that lie for dear life for years, he insisted that it was the teams’ fault that Kap had yet sign anywhere.
“I’ve said it many times privately, publicly that our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players that they want to have on their roster,” Goodell said during his State of the League press conference in January 2019. “I think if a team decides that Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, that’s what they’ll do. They want to win, and they make those decisions individually in best interest of their club.”
So Goodell’s inference that had Kap been a respectable negro and gone about his national anthem protests “the right way” in order to receive Goodell’s grace and favor is as offensive as it is absurd. When something gnaws at me, I act on it. But clearly Goodell couldn’t be bothered to do so until standing in solidarity with social justice was en vogue.
This is the type of revisionist history bullshit that populates far too many history books and dilutes the truth.
Feel free to listen to Goodell make a fool of himself below.
This is the exact type of performative “allyship” that comes at our own expense. No thanks.