The NFL and NFL Charities have donated $1 million toward the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. The Memorial will be dedicated later this year. (The ceremony had been set for Sunday, but it has been postponed due to Hurricane Irene.)
“We are extremely humbled by the million dollar gift from the NFL owners and the NFL’s charitable foundation,” said Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the MLK Memorial Foundation in a news release. “This NFL gift moves us one step closer to our $120 million fundraising goal. The NFL has been a close ally of our Project in Washington, DC as well as a strong supporter for more than two decades of the national holiday in Dr. King’s honor on the third Monday each January. We are proud the NFL has joined with us to create the first memorial on the National Mall celebrating a man of hope, a man of peace, and a man of color.”
“We are pleased to join our fellow Americans in saluting Dr. King, his legacy and his vision of America,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “The Memorial is a fitting tribute to an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to ensure freedom, equality and opportunity for all.
“We in the NFL believe that professional football is the ultimate meritocracy. NFL players are measured strictly by their performance on the field regardless of race, religion or economic background. Our league offers more than 2,500 job opportunities on the field each season to young men as players, coaches and game officials. We also employ thousands more men and women in our NFL offices and at the 32 clubs. In the spirit of Dr. King, we work vigorously to maintain an inclusive environment where everyone can reach their fullest potential. We are proud to have our name associated with Dr. King.”
Nearly 50 years after the historic “I Have a Dream” speech, our society is closer than ever to being truly colorblind. But more progress must be made before people are judged based only on their skills, abilities, and character, and not on meaningless superficial characteristics like race, gender, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation.
Hopefully by the 100th anniversary of the speech we’ll be there.