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NFL Players Sent Memo Asking Roger Goodell To Support Their Social Activism
The NFL is quickly becoming a league divided by the players who are taking on social issues, and the owners who want nothing to do with picking sides in what they see as a lose-lose battle. Well, it seems the players are speaking up on this matter, pleading with the league to offer support in their fights, no matter how divisive.
Yahoo Sports obtained a copy of the letter that the NFL players sent to the league offices, which was entitled “Player Activism for Racial Inequality and Criminal Justice Reform.” The missive, signed by several players including Torrey Smith and former player Anquan Boldin, is broken out into several sections as well as an accompanying timeline for the league to take action.
An overview, via The Score, reads:
As players whom have been advocating for social justice for the past year, we appreciate the opportunity to engage with you, the league, owners, coaches and GMs to make our communities stronger. As we shared with you, the silence following our individual and collective demonstrations around the national anthem to raise awareness to racial inequality and issues surrounding criminal justice reform has been met with inconsistencies in press coverage and perceived lack of support.
To recap our discussion, currently there are more than 40 active players who have participated in our “Players Coalition” to work on criminal justice reform on various levels (some more than others). Below is a summary of the activities we have conducted to date.
Our focus has been to identify and place our efforts on the key areas of reform where our influence and support can make a meaningful difference in the community. Those include prioritizing Criminal Justice Reform and Police/Community Relations Engagement. Within those two areas that includes: police transparency/accountability, bail reform, criminalization of poverty, mass incarceration (mandatory minimum sentences, juvenile life parole) and Clean Slate Act, which also includes emphasis on diversion of funds towards community based programs, education and training. (More information below – see Addendum). Through Police/Community Relations & Engagement, we are working with grass roots organizations and police directly through various efforts to build trust within our communities and increase educational and employment opportunities.
Ultimately, the stated goal of the players is to effect change both publicly and politically.
The note comes after the league has been quick to come down on players for personal infractions, all while remaining deafeningly silent when it comes to social matters on and off the field.
We’ll see if this public message can change any of that.