On the heels of a powerful video from black NFL players demanding that the league stand up for black lives and admit it was wrong for punishing players for silently protesting, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has seemingly answered the call.
“We the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodell said in a video message posted on the NFL’s social media channels on Friday night. “We the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
“Without black players, there would be no national football league,” Goodell added in the recorded statement:
However, a glaring omission from the league’s apparent support of players who peacefully protest now is any mention of Colin Kaepernick—the quarterback who has been notoriously blacklisted by the league after he began kneeling in silent protest against police brutality.
So forgive me for saying that Goodell’s claim he “wants to be part of the much-needed change in this country,” rings a little hollow.
I’m not the only one. In the hours after the NFL posted on Twitter about its newfound support for peaceful protests by players, many have outlined what the league needs to do at minimum to prove this isn’t all just talk:
“The protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff,” Goodell said in the video message, with a straight face that betrayed no sense of irony.
He added that he and the NFL are “listening” and will be reaching out to players and other people who can help inform how the NFL can move forward and be better.
We’re sure Colin Kaepernick will be listening out for a phone call too.