Surprise! NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Fumbles Apology for Not Listening to NFL Players About Racism
The NFL is quite late to the party when it comes to speaking out against racism and supporting its players
Succumbing to requests from a number of prominent players to condemn racism, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released an 81-second video in support. Although the words mirrored what was desired, in true Goodell fashion, it was too little, too late and rang completely hollow.
Among his remarks, the Commissioner stated:
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.”
Symbols and actions of solidarity are always nice; especially when there’s confidence that they’re delivered with sincerity. Unfortunately, history tells us that Goodell’s video should be taken as nothing more than a PR move and attempt to keep the door from being blown off the league’s coffers, as the public has recently demonstrated a more committed stance against racism and police brutality towards Black people.
The time to make such videos has long since passed for the NFL. They have not been able to do the simplest things like develop effective policies for minority hiring practices or support players like Colin Kaepernick, who chose to perform peaceful protests to speak out against racism. Facing opposition from fans and league administration alike, he has been effectively blackballed ever since, unable to land a job since the 2016 season. Although the NFL has long thrown up their collective hands in a bloviated denial, there is no other plausible reason why a healthy quarterback with the 24th highest passer rating in history saw his playing career effectively end at the age of 28.
Black lives matter. With approximately two thirds of all NFL players identifying as Black, it’s unfathomable that it has taken this long to get this kind of support from the league. Hopefully, Goodell meant what he said. However, he and the league have lost any benefit of the doubt. If they want this video to mean anything, it needs to be followed up with fewer words and more actions — lots of them. Only then will this represent anything more than a hollow gesture and protecting league interests.