Goodell listens to players with social concerns; will the league take action?

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When it comes to players expressing concern about issues of social justice and racial equality, the NFL finally is listening. The next question becomes when or if the league will be doing more than that.

In addition to Wednesday’s excellent statement in the aftermath of the news that Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly has reached out to certain players who have been vocal about social issues — from Bennett to Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins to the Browns players who kneeled during the anthem at a preseason game. So where will it go from here?

More public statements of support for players who raise these concerns would be helpful, along with an effort to acknowledge and support the conscious, deliberate decision of players to use the only sliver of a three-hour football production to focus on these concerns. Many fans can’t and won’t reconcile kneeling or sitting during the national anthem with legitimate efforts to promote important issues of social equality. Perhaps the league should try to find a way to allow players to make their concerns known apart from the brief period when they can stand out by not standing.

It also would be helpful if the league would help Colin Kaepernick find a job. Though some are still willing to die on the “football reasons only” hill, it’s now beyond obvious that Kaepernick would have a job but for last year’s protests. Instead of the Commissioner of the sport trying to clumsily hide behind the notion that he’s not an expert in the sport, he should be (or, more accurately, he should have been) making calls and asking questions and challenging teams to do the right thing by adding a player who will help the team win games without regarding to the perceived “distractions” arising from his activism.

Before the Ravens opted to engage in a slow-motion public debate regarding whether to sign Kaepernick, Goodell repeatedly insisted that teams make player acquisitions for football reasons only. After Goodell personally witnessed Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti make it abundantly clear that football reasons aren’t the only reasons for Kaepernick’s unemployment, Goodell subtly shifted the talking points.

Now, the talking points should become action items. Goodell should be urging teams to consider Kaepernick without regard to the protests and to embrace the message that adding him to a roster would send, ignoring the potential backlash and shrugging at the tired notion of “distractions,” which often is code for not signing a guy the coach or someone else in the organization doesn’t want.

Until the league office makes it clear that it wants — that it expects — teams to not hold player activism against them, the league’s words on the issue will ring hollow.

93 responses to “Goodell listens to players with social concerns; will the league take action?

  1. Again with this garbage. Roger can’t force teams to change their scheme to fit Kaepernick’s limited skill set. He can run one offense, he doesn’t know how to read a defense, and the league has figured out how to defend against him. This is the same reason Manziel, Tebow, and RG3 are also unemployed, they just don’t fit the political narrative the media wants to try and tie in to this whole story.

  2. Goodell is paying lip service. He KNOWS he rally can’t do anything as long as it does not interfere with on filed issues.

    He is still a moron….

  3. most of these players have at least 6 months of free time per year to promote, and even better, actively participate (not just frigging tweet or instagram) in causes that they care about- that’s the time to do it not when I, and millions of other fans, have handed over our hard earned money to watch this game.

  4. Nobody is entitled to a spot on an NFL roster. NOBODY. If a team thinks a player will help them win, they will add that player. I played football in high school. Why aren’t I on an NFL team? Clearly I am being blackballed.

  5. Politics and sports don’t mix well. If I staged a protest at work, I would be reprimanded or fired. The NFL is so concerned about image that they fine players for uniform violations, excessive celebrations, etc. They suspend players for off-field indiscretions. They should make it policy that players stand respectfully for the National Anthem or be fined/suspended. Let the players protest on their own time.

  6. NFL stick to football. STOP screwing everything up. Social issues have been around sinse the beginning of time and will be around long after have come and gone. Stick to what you do best, football, and leave social issues to social workers and advocates.

  7. It’s not the league’s job to “help find Colin Kaepernick a job” That’s up to Mr Kaepernick and the 32 teams. Kaep has made so many poor decisions since last year it’s ridiculous. If you want to play, give an interview saying so. Post some videos on social media of working out or practicing throwing to let the public know that you actually care and want to play. He needs to stop letting activists make his case and do it himself.

  8. Too many fans need their Sunday “safe space” because they can’t handle things they don’t agree with. I’d suggest just growing up and being a mature adult but that would require some effort on their part and that isn’t going to happen in this lifetime.

    I don’t care what politics you personally believe in. It’s a free country and you are free to follow whatever you feel is right for you. Which is why I love America in the first place. The freedom to choose your own path is a beautiful thing.

  9. what excellent statement, he called Michael Bennett, a race baiter, a divider, a man who disrespects the sacrifices made by thousands of service people, The Best of The NFL”…these owners really need to look at how bad this Goodell is before he ruins what is left of the NFL’s respect

  10. Roger first needs to get the commissioner’s pet Jeff Fisher back on a team. Fisher will gladly carry out Goodell’s wishes (while continuing his own legacy of mediocre-to-lousy teams), by signing players the league wants to boost for every cause they stand for, all so the NFL can better virtue signal to the world.

  11. dukeearl says:
    September 7, 2017 at 10:23 am
    Kaepernick is unemployed because he wants starting money. He also is lousy from the pocket.
    ====================================================

    He is unemployed because he asked to be released from a contract that was paying him millions of dollars to sit.
    I wish someone would pay me millions to do nothing at work.

    Maybe the players that feel that he is being screwed can pool some of their millions to help him out while waiting for his $3 million home in the Bay area to sell.

  12. The NFL better not start getting into the business of social issues or they will be playing in 1/2 empty stadiums. Sporting events are not the place for political, social, or any other kind of protests otherwise people will start taking sides and sporting events will turn into protests and demonstrations and nobody is going to pay to attend that hot mess.

  13. It was great when we could watch sports and forget about the problems of our world. Now it’s like politics, far left or far right divided as ever. We use to be united by the game, only divided by the rivalrys and teams we rooted for. It’s a sad time to be a sports fan and this only divided us more as a country.

  14. Can Goodell make Bennett and others leave their multi-million dollar gated communities and start campaigning against black-on-black violence they’re so far removed from? Nope! Kinda convenient how literally nobody talks about that. Is it taboo or something? How about we say no more police patrols in those crime ridden warzones; I bet that would get people talking!

  15. Social justice identity politics is bad for businesses. It alienates consumers, reducing potential profit.

  16. I thought Kaep chose to opt out of his contract…

    If the players want to make a difference don’t take a knee and piss off prospective people that can get behind your cause. Here’s a thought use the press to get out your messsage, if they ask you about the game, talk about your issue, if they ask you about practice, talk about your issue, if they ask you about your teammates DUI, talk about your issue.

  17. redlikethepig says:
    Maybe the league can mandate a safe space for the players who feel threatened?
    – – – – – – – –
    Yeah, they’re doing those little tent things over injured players being examined on the sidelines now, just set a couple more tents up and let players go sit and chill in them during the game.

  18. The only social concerns these players have is running from the cops when told to stop then lying about it because of their race.
    Put on your big boy pants and worry about football……..you know, the job that pays you millions of dollars to play a game 16 times a year?

  19. Where would it stop? I mean would the teams be required to not hold ANY social issues against a player? What if say, a player was pro supremacy of a particular race, Can a team hold that against a player? What if a player was of culture that treated women like second class citizens… is that acceptable or would they face the same fate of an abuser? It sounds like a lot of gray area to me, in a league that loves to play the gray area to favor them whenever needed.

  20. I/m not trolling when I ask this, but can somebody explain to me why Americans in general seem to have such a hard time saying “live and let live” when somebody has an opinion that is different from theirs? I’ve been to many places in this world and America seems to be the most contentious. This is a shame because the country DOES have a lot of beautiful things to offer.

  21. Goodell as always missed handled this situations from the start, he could have formed a committee of esteemed NFL alumni, like Jim Brown, Tony Dungy and met with the parties whom were protesting the flag and had concerns…..they could have worked something out say, the league prefers you to stand for the flag, in return we will try to address this concerns in some other way that we can all live with, Work it out as a family, but Goodell loves the attention this gives the league in terms of diverse views and he can care less of the damage this does to people who truly just want to watch a football game and get away form the divide and politics in thsi country…respectfully eg

  22. Maybe Colin would be in Baltimore if he hid his girlfriend’s twitter account. Too many “outside” interests has made a talented QB no more than a public albatross. He’s not doing himself any justice with his aloofness and you can’t fault a team wondering where his dedication lies

  23. “It also would be helpful if the league would help Colin Kaepernick find a job.”
    ______________________________________________________

    Pathetic…

  24. “Goodell should be urging teams to consider Kaepernick”

    Really? So now the Commish is going to start lobbying or telling teams who to take and put on their team? Will not be long until we will not need a draft and we can just let the Commish divide up players for each team.

  25. 1. If Bennett (Mi) followed instructions, we wouldn’t be talking about this. My LE relatives say nothing good happens after midnight, and Bennett (Mi) is not immune. He showed bad judgment hiding and running.
    2. If Bennett (Ma) grew up, or was clued in by Bennett (Mi) as to what happened, we wouldn’t be doing that additional sideshow.
    3. Goodell is a college president who is easily bullied – except by NE.
    4. Is there any ‘football’ in the NFL?

  26. Not the Rooney Rule but the ‘Kaepernick Rule’. The NFL shall force players on teams. RIDICULOUS!

    Social concerns of millionaires???

  27. Kap had a job as an NFL QB and waived his option.

    He essentially quit his job with no other job in place.

    Unless we hear it from his mouth, no one knows if he even wants to play in the league any more.

  28. “It also would be helpful if the league would help Colin Kaepernick find a job”

    Stadium PA announcer? Beer garden barista? Security for Section 302? Full-time referee/field official? Many exciting possibilities…

  29. Please help Kaep find a job! Hey dude…McDonald’s is hiring in my neighborhood…but they won’t allow random kneeling when waiting on customers.

  30. So, the league is supposed to find Kaepernick a job? That is not specific enough. Which team does he go to? Which QB does he replace? Does he get the same salary as the player that is released? If not, does that team get to go over the cap to sign him? Give some reasons why he’s better than the QB he replaces. Be specific.

  31. Goodell can talk to players and listen all he wants. But what is he actually supposed to do?

    Here’s a list of all the things Roger Goodell can actually do to address the players’ grievances as of recent:

    -Drop Ezekiel Elliot’s case and stop White Knighting for SJWs who don’t even watch football.
    -Stop giving such ridiculous suspensions for “grey area” hits by defensive players.

    That’s it. He can’t force a team to sign Kaepernick, and he can’t sue Las Vegas Police for the handling of Michael Bennett (if the reports are 100% accurate).

    Seriously. What is Goodell gonna do?

  32. Really Roger? I have a feeling that this is my final straw. I gave up my season tickets 5 years ago because the game-day in stadium experience was becoming ridiculously expensive. I continued to lose interest as the league changed rules yearly to “improve” the game. I had no problem last year when CK and others protested during the national anthem but dreaded that the SJW factor was creeping into the game. Now Roger feels the need to go full SJW and ruin the one chunk of time that I could turn off the world and simply enjoy the game. Thanks Roger. I’ll fondly remember you as the asshat that ruined the NFL.

  33. The right thing to do would have been for the NFL to set guidelines, get NFL alumni involved, and build media channels for players to promote their causes. That way the causes would be clearer and fans could constructively get involved if they prefer. For those that don’t want any part of it, they could tune it out easier as well.

    Unfortunately Goodell hasn’t acted and loves the media attention, even if it is negative and alienates a good portion of their fan base.

  34. This is one of the more unrealistic things I have ever read. The league has no power here. They cannot force owners to hire and pay people they dont want to. (Just try to force one individual to against their will pay a multi million dollar salary to another individual, slam dunk loss in court if it actually got that far). And I am not sure what authority anyone thinks the league has over any police departments across the land. The best Goodell can do is give the matter some lip service, and now he has done that.

  35. Please explain to me why Goodell should be telling teams to take Kaepernick?

    Fans do NOT want him on their teams unilaterally.

    This is a guy who depicted Police Officers as Pigs on his Socks and praised Fidel Castro.

  36. “Excellent” statement? Are we honestly advocating for more people to run from police and hop walls to try and escape? Would you have the same position if that person was not Michael Bennett?

  37. I am a former Sunday Ticket subscriber and former season ticket holder to two different teams in cities I’ve lived in. I will not purposely hand one dime to the NFL or any team until these millionaire brats stop disrespecting the flag.

    Are there problems? Yes. Do some things need to be addressed? Yes. But if I’m going to have social agendas thrown in my face when I’m watching sports, I’ll just watch the news during that time as well. Sports is supposed to give us a chance to come together, not a time for everyone to air their social grievance. Like others have said, these players have 6 months of free time to DO something in the offseason and the money to do so. Them using a game to do it screams “Hey, look at me and how much I care!” I’m close to the point I won’t be looking at anyone in the league if it doesn’t stop.

  38. The NFL has officially stopped educating ignorance and now caters to it. As a result for the first time in 24 years I will not be purchasing NFL Sunday ticket or any NFL merchandise. I will also not watch anymore games nor support any appetizer that advertises with the NFL.

  39. If the NFL changed their policy and played the national anthem at the end of each game, none of this would be an issue. Maybe 2 or 3 percent of paying customers would actually stay for the anthem and the rest

  40. “I will not be purchasing NFL Sunday ticket or any NFL merchandise”
    “I will also not watch anymore games nor support any appetizer that advertises with the NFL”

    I was at that point last year. This year was the 1st year since the early 1960s that I missed some of The Packers preseason games and didn’t bother to watch the replay of the game. The NFL has turned me off big time, but it’s nothing compared to what this site has done to make me lose interest. Agenda is everything nowadays.

    I see this message reported by many fans, but is anyone listening to their fan base?

  41. Stay in your lane. Vote for whomever you want, but keep it in the voting booth. Not interested in your politics or having them foisted upon me.

  42. If the NFL changed their policy and played the national anthem at the end of each game, none of this would be an issue. Maybe 2 or 3 percent of paying customers would actually stay for the anthem and the rest would be long gone and on their way to the parking lot.

    The added benefit would be that all the haters and whiners who denigrate Kaepernick et al would disappear in a hurry, at least until they found something equally as subjective at which to spew their intolerant venom.

  43. edsales87 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Everyone forgets that KAP opted out of his contract!
    ——————–

    Everyone disregards the fact that he would have been cut anyway!

  44. broncofaninfla45 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    The NFL has officially stopped educating ignorance and now caters to it. As a result for the first time in 24 years I will not be purchasing NFL Sunday ticket or any NFL merchandise. I will also not watch anymore games nor support any appetizer that advertises with the NFL.
    ———————

    Like wings, and chips and dip?

  45. “More public statements of support for players who raise these concerns would be helpful, along with an effort to acknowledge and support the conscious, deliberate decision of players to use the only sliver of a three-hour football production to focus on these concerns.”

    This is where the sports media loses the middle class. How many football fans are able to use their jobs, on company time, to distract from the purpose of their employment to push pet causes, be these social justice issues or something else? The answer would surprise the sports media. Sports is an escape for most fans. The last thing the league needs to do is to start introducing politics and social issues into something that is supposed to be entertainment.

  46. “Everyone forgets that KAP opted out of his contract!
    ——————–

    Everyone disregards the fact that he would have been cut anyway!”

    Any those who are left ignore that getting cut by the 49ers is pretty much proof that you aren’t any good.

  47. This is one of the most ridiculous articles I have ever read. The NFL is a for profit business not a social service agency. The players get paid for doing something they love and the fans get to enjoy the great game of football played at the highest level. It’s as simple as that.

  48. tommyribs says:
    September 7, 2017 at 12:37 pm
    “Please explain to me why Goodell should be telling teams to take Kaepernick?

    Fans do NOT want him on their teams unilaterally.”
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    Not sure what world you live in, but in the real world, getting ALL football fans to agree unilaterally on anything is an impossibility!

    On a more personal note: I’ve been a fan for 62 years and I (and a whole lot of my friends and acquaintances) would love to have Kaepernick on either of the teams I root for, assuming he fit the team’s goals and offensive schemes and played at a professional level.

    So there goes your “unilateral” theory. Using generalities and making blanket statements basically only serves to demonstrate a person’s narrow-mindedness and their fear of things they don’t understand.

  49. @badpftmessyouup says:

    I don’t really understand why an organization shouldn’t be allowed to sign only the guys they want.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Of course you don’t. It’s the same reason this organization had to employ a rule to at the minimum, interview minority candidates. It doesn’t mandate that a minority be hired, just interviewed.

  50. eddiegabriel2013 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Goodell as always missed handled this situations from the start, he could have formed a committee of esteemed NFL alumni, like Jim Brown, Tony Dungy and met with the parties whom were protesting the flag and had concerns…..they could have worked something out say, the league prefers you to stand for the flag, in return we will try to address this concerns in some other way that we can all live with, Work it out as a family, but Goodell loves the attention this gives the league in terms of diverse views and he can care less of the damage this does to people who truly just want to watch a football game and get away form the divide and politics in thsi country…respectfully eg
    —————————-

    There’s nothing that Goodell can, will, nor should do about social injustice. He’s made a complete mockery of domestic violence, so he should quit now while he is behind.

  51. mmack66 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 1:23 pm
    edsales87 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Everyone forgets that KAP opted out of his contract!
    ——————–

    Everyone disregards the fact that he would have been cut anyway!
    ===================================================

    If he’s so good, why would he have been cut anyway?

  52. jonwill57 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Of course you don’t. It’s the same reason this organization had to employ a rule to at the minimum, interview minority candidates. It doesn’t mandate that a minority be hired, just interviewed.
    —————————-

    They didn’t have to employ it.

  53. Michael E says:
    September 7, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    If he’s so good, why would he have been cut anyway?
    ———————

    No one really knows if he is good or not, but Lynch and Shanahan made the decision to move in a different direction, so that is that.

  54. mmack66 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 2:41 pm
    Michael E says:
    September 7, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    No one really knows if he is good or not, but Lynch and Shanahan made the decision to move in a different direction, so that is that.
    __________________________________________

    Just stop. Seriously. Comments like this will get you nowhere, because it’s ludicrous. The entire world knows if Kaep is good or not, don’t be ridiculous.

  55. What’s wrong with NFL teams not wanting to employ people who use their job to bring attention to causes the owner opposes? That’s true elsewhere in life. If Kaepernick wants to be a social activist, he has plenty of money saved (or at least should) and can spend his time on that.

  56. tootitan says:
    September 7, 2017 at 1:37 pm
    tommyribs says:
    September 7, 2017 at 12:37 pm
    “Please explain to me why Goodell should be telling teams to take Kaepernick?

    Fans do NOT want him on their teams unilaterally.”
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    Not sure what world you live in, but in the real world, getting ALL football fans to agree unilaterally on anything is an impossibility!

    On a more personal note: I’ve been a fan for 62 years and I (and a whole lot of my friends and acquaintances) would love to have Kaepernick on either of the teams I root for, assuming he fit the team’s goals and offensive schemes and played at a professional level.

    So there goes your “unilateral” theory. Using generalities and making blanket statements basically only serves to demonstrate a person’s narrow-mindedness and their fear of things they don’t understand.
    _______________________________

    I think the word does not mean what you think it means…

  57. So the NFL in its infinite wisdom, and seeing how the vast majority of fans have reacted to the social justice millionaire athlete crowd, is going to hoist itself upon that very same petard?

    Really?

    It’s a good thing they’ve been greasing the skids in Europe, because that’ll be the only place they can make any money. They love this stuff across the pond.

  58. My Raiders are supposedly going to do great things this year (I have my doubts), and yet I won’t be buying any merchandise or paying to see any games. Not a one.

    I may see a couple games when it’s entirely convenient to me. But no effort will be made.

    Starve the beast.

  59. ringheadcrusher says:
    September 7, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Just stop. Seriously. Comments like this will get you nowhere, because it’s ludicrous. The entire world knows if Kaep is good or not, don’t be ridiculous.
    ——————

    He was fairly successful with Harbaugh, and then played on depleted teams, with two head coaches that had no business being NFL head coaches, and I think he was injured somewhere in there, so no, the entire world doesn’t know.

    All I know is that jetsfan4life1sbwinb4moonlanding says that anyone can step into the quarterback position for the Patriots and go to, and win the Super Bowl, so Kaepernick might just need the right situation.

  60. philtration says:
    September 7, 2017 at 10:46 am
    dukeearl says:
    September 7, 2017 at 10:23 am
    Kaepernick is unemployed because he wants starting money. He also is lousy from the pocket.
    ====================================================

    He is unemployed because he asked to be released from a contract that was paying him millions of dollars to sit.
    I wish someone would pay me millions to do nothing at work.

    Maybe the players that feel that he is being screwed can pool some of their millions to help him out while waiting for his $3 million home in the Bay area to sell.
    – – – –

    @philtration: You don’t really believe what you just wrote, do you?

    Everyone knows, and Lynch and Shanahan have confirmed, that Kaepernick was going to be cut and since his salary isn’t guaranteed, he would not see one penny of that.

    If you really don’t know how NFL contracts work (the non-guaranteed salary most players have), then I suggest you brush up on it. If you already knew that (most readers here at PFT do), thenb I wonder why you are introducing #falsenarratives much like the poster you were replying to (@dukeearl).

    @dukeearl, Colin has NEVER stated publicly that he wants starting money. In fact, his camp has denied that. So unless you have been in these negotiations, I also ask you, why are you contributing to these #falsenarratives?

    You know what I think?

    Y’all know he’s good enough to play in the NFL (and even start for a few teams). But you and others keep adding to the distractions because, in your heart, you know Kap should be playing in the NFL.

    Thanks for proving my point.

  61. The dude was benched and cut on his last team, the 49ers didn’t think he was worth the money he was getting, and all the leftists act like he’s a HOFer.

  62. Tell the Broadcast Partners NOT to Show ANY of the teams during the Anthem. Take away the national
    platform, and get back to doing their job, play a game for a lot of money. And if they want to do
    something away from the field do it, and stop yapping.

  63. Oh man. Looks like the NFL is about to decimate its fanbase. They keep this up and I will be boycotting the entire league the way I already intend to boycott any team with a player who kneels for the anthem (Seahawks, Browns, Raiders, 49’ers).

  64. snowpea84 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 4:13 pm
    Oh man. Looks like the NFL is about to decimate its fanbase. They keep this up and I will be boycotting the entire league the way I already intend to boycott any team with a player who kneels for the anthem (Seahawks, Browns, Raiders, 49’ers).

    ———-

    Athlete’s have been activists since the 60’s and it hasn’t changed the sport’s popularity. NFL players did not typically even stand for the national anthem until 2009. Nobody cared. It’s not going to change the sports popularity. Basketball, Baseball, Hockey and College Football won’t cut it. People love the NFL. Hence your post and my reply on this blog.

  65. joelvis72 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm
    The NFL as we knew it is dead.

    ———

    You mean the one pre-2009 when players stayed in the locker room and didn’t stand for the anthem just like most fans do at home?

  66. joelvis72 says:
    September 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    The NFL as we knew it is dead.
    ———————

    Only took Roger 11 years, too.

  67. “It also would be helpful if the league would help Colin Kaepernick find a job.”

    So we finally get the truth from you Florio. It’s not about football for you, its an SJW virtue signal.

    Both sad and pathetic at the same time.

  68. For all of you saying that you will boycott the NFL if “this sort of thing” continues, get ready to boycott a whole lot of everything. Pretty soon your only safe zones will be Fox News and Twitter. Social justice is something that our society needs to address, and if that is offensive to you or makes you feel uncomfortable, you are going to have a traumatic few years coming up.

  69. The 2014 SF 49ers were a very good team at almost every position except QB.
    He dragged them down to 8-8.

    Look at the roster and get a clue.

    The most ‘depleted’ thing about the 2014-2016 49ers was the QB.

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