NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been criticized for what many have perceived to be a hypocritical response within the wake of George Floyd’s loss of life.
The 46-year-old died on 25 May after being arrested in Minneapolis. His loss of life sparked widespread protests throughout the U.S. after movies emerged of a white police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd, who’s black, for nearly 10 minutes whereas arresting him.
In the video, the sufferer might be heard saying he is unable to breathe and pleading with officers, earlier than seemingly dropping consciousness.
On Saturday, the NFL joined a rising refrain of gamers, coaches and groups to precise unhappiness at Floyd’s loss of life and help for protesters who’ve taken to the streets during the last six days to demand an finish to police brutality.
“The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country,” Goodell mentioned in assertion. “The protesters’ reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.”
The NFL commissioner mentioned Floyd’s loss of life and the following protests had been a reminder there was loads of work to be executed to bridge the racial divide within the nation.
“As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league,” he continued.
“These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society.”
Goodell’s phrases went down like a lead balloon in some quarters, with critics stating that as Colin Kaepernick started his peaceable protest 4 years in the past the league commissioner stood in opposition to the identical protesters he backed on Saturday.
Kaepernick first knelt in the course of the nationwide anthem to protest police brutality and racial discrimination in 2016. The gesture reworked the previous San Francisco 49ers quarterback into a world icon, however cut up public opinion within the U.S. and contributed to him being ostracized by the league.
He final performed within the NFL in the identical yr, earlier than changing into a free agent. When he was not supplied a tryout by any of the 32 franchises, Kaepernick sued the house owners for colluding to maintain him out of the league, earlier than reaching a settlement with the NFL in February 2019.
“Save the bulls**t,” Houston Texans broad receiver Kenny Stills tweeted in response to Goodell’s assertion.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay described Goodell’s assertion as “hollow and disingenuous,” suggesting the NFL’s conduct over the Kaepernick saga spoke louder than the assertion they launched on the weekend.
“This is a lie,” she tweeted. “Your actions show who you are. You’ve done nothing but the exact opposite of what you describe here. Keep Mr. Floyd’s name out of your mouth.”
Best-selling crime novelist Don Winslow echoed DuVernay’s sentiment, criticizing the NFL for ostracizing Kaepernick.
“A group of billionaire white guys who destroyed @Kaepernick7’s career and punished and hurt the careers of black players protesting have no credibility to send this message,” he tweeted.
In December final yr, Goodell mentioned the league had “moved on” from Kaepernick, after the previous 49ers quarterback moved a exercise the NFL had organized a month earlier.
In November, the league surprisingly organized a tryout for the previous Nevada alumni, on the Atlanta Falcons’ coaching facility, inviting all 32 franchises to attend.
Kaepernick, nonetheless, moved the exercise to a highschool stadium roughly 50 miles away on the final minute, sustaining he had executed so to make sure media might attend.
“It was about opportunity, a credible opportunity,” Goodell mentioned on the Winter League Meetings. “He chose not to take it, and I understand that. The league has moved on.”
Goodell wasn’t alone in drawing the ire of the general public on the weekend, with 49ers chief government Jed York additionally on the receiving finish of some criticism.
On Sunday, York introduced the franchise had donated $1 million to native and nationwide organizations working for social change.
“People throughout our country are hurting,” he mentioned. “Emotions are raw, and rightfully so. Heinous acts have been committed in recent weeks. Before we are able to realize impactful change, we must first have the courage and compassion as human beings to come together and acknowledge the problem: black men, women, children and other oppressed minorities continue to be systematically discriminated against.”
The transfer was rapidly shut down by Eric Reid, who performed with Kaepernick in San Francisco and was among the many first gamers to help his then-teammate’s protest.
“Nobody wants your money Jed,” Reid tweeted. “We want justice. We’ve always wanted justice. Y’all are truly diluted.”
Like Kaepernick, Reid sued the NFL however returned to professional soccer in 2018 and has spent the final two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, earlier than being launched on the finish of the final marketing campaign.
“One day y’all will realize that truth and justice are the answer,” he added. “I see that a lot of y’all think that it takes money to get justice. It does not. It takes money to facilitate injustice. Justice is easy, the system chooses not to give it.