Group of players asks NFL to support activism awareness month

AP

The NFL will wrap itself in pink for breast cancer, and put on faux-camo to celebrate the military.

Now, a group of players have asked commissioner Roger Goodell to spend a month talking about black and white.

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, a group of four current and former players sent the league a memo in August asking for the NFL’s help campaigning for racial equality and criminal justice reform. The letter was signed by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin and Eagles wideout Torrey Smith.

The 10-page letter to Goodell and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent also asked the league to endorse efforts to promote an activism awareness month.

Neither the league, nor the players who signed the memo commented, citing an agreement to keep direct communications with Goodell private.

The memo requested the league to invest time and education, political involvement, finances and other commitments from the league. They also asked the league to endorse November as the time to celebrate their cause.

The league is all too happy to promote safer topics (as in, who can possibly be against cancer or the military?) , and will also be delighted to sell you some merchandise to show how much they care.

“To be clear, we are asking for your support,” part of the memo (which can be read in full here) reads. “We appreciate your acknowledgement on the call regarding the clear distinction between support and permission. For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community. There are a variety of ways for you to get involved. Similar to the model we have in place for players to get involved, there are three tiers of engagement based on your comfort level. To start, we appreciate your agreement on making this an immediate priority. In your words, from Protest to Progress, we need action.”

The players who signed the letter have been among the most outspoken and thoughtful — and active — regarding issues of inequality.

106 responses to “Group of players asks NFL to support activism awareness month

  1. Since when is the NFL an organization to point out the issues of the day and lend support to the issue certain players find important. In my opinion, the NFL should stick to the GAMES. If players want to discuss personal issues, they should do so on their own time NOT during games or NFL activities. This protest stuff is getting out of hand. It’s not the NFL’s business to take on issues not related to football.

  2. So players protesting a cause will only be able to do it for a month and will be standing/not raising fists/no protesting anything the rest of the year?
    If that’s the case I say let them have a month…March or Feb works best for for me.

  3. This might not be a good idea – it puts the league automatically on the side of any issue anyone might dream up and decide to make an issue.

    I go to Church Sunday morning to get some preachin’, and in the afternoon I grab a beer and sit down for some entertainment, and as far as I – and many others – are concerned, the 2 should just be kept apart.

    If these guys want to be SJWs they should do it in their own time and on their own dime.

    I’ve been watching pro football for about 60 years since the 50s, and last Sunday I watched the 1st half of the Pats’ game and that was it for the day – just about the first time in a decade that I haven’t watched from 1 until 5 or 6.

    I know the NFL writes off old coots like me because we’re so old, but for all of us there is a point where – enough is enough. SJWs masquerading as ‘writers’ is a heavy feather.

  4. Amidst sagging ratings and half empty stadiums, No better idea than to allow a false narrative to be bolstered on game day.

  5. According to the JD power survey, the number 1 reason that fans tuned out of the NFL last year was the anthem protests. This is a very slippery slope for the NFL.Right or wrong, the majority of fans do not think that they and their communities participate in racial injustice. They do not like this issue being thrown in their face when they spend their limited free time trying to enjoy themselves by watching an NFL game.

  6. An elaborate solution to a non-existing problem which should not be handled in the workplace.

    Otherwise, my dentist is going to protest his rent before he cleans my teeth. And the Clerk at Home Depot will take a knee to show how her kid is fed at day care before checking out my order. Or the ticket agent at the airport will whine about his bosses advances in the break room before he checks in my luggage.

    I am a customer of the NFL and don’t wish to hear your off-site complaints where I do business. Do it on your own time and in another place. Or buy commercial time.

  7. Be careful political hacks and community activist players…you may just get what you want. A sport riddled and stained with false narrative politics so steeped in pushing an agenda, that it will be the nail in the coffin of this once entertaining sport, and stadiums will be emptier, interest will plummet and you will in effect, kill the goose that laid your golden eggs….the writing is on the wall.

  8. Here’s the 10 page letter reduced to a short paragraph.

    “Hey, Roger. You know how players injecting politics into fans’ escapist entertainment hurt the NFL? Please hurt the NFL a lot more by officially injecting politics into fans’ escapist entertainment.”

  9. Whether you’re in agreement with the current player protests or not, a month promoting equality and awareness can’t be a bad thing, doesn’t take up time or hurt anyone at all

  10. Yes. Moving closer to possibly offering diversity and pluralism options. Solutions, not complaints. Suggestions for progress as opposed to denial of real issue. Good job. Hope NFL gets on board.

  11. This is surely a great idea for getting fans in seats and invested back in the game. Good thing players don’t run the league. No wonder half these guys are broke when they are out of the league.

  12. The NFL has a hard enough time running the NFL….please do not spend any time, money or effort doing anything but making the game a better product or the league will continue to falter. Keep politics OUT of sports.

  13. LMAO! And maybe when the NFL employees finish writing and enacting laws to reform the criminal justice system, they can pioneer renewable energy research, and fix the issues within American health care industry. And once they are done with all that they maybe play some freaking football…

  14. Four players? Just four? Too funny. If the NFL wants to lose more fans/viewership then they’ll move ahead with this nonsense.

  15. Wow, and they think the ratings are tanking NOW?!

    Just wait til “Unity Month”. Lmao at what this sport has become and the cluelessness and/or intentional agenda of the NFL.

    It’s all I can do at this point to watch a quarter or two throughout Sunday before my self-respect takes over.

    And I doubt I will even be watching that amount within another week or two. Not missing it as much as I thought I was going to.

  16. In other words, this is the “Let’s find something else to turn off the average middle class NFL fan” movement. Unfortunately, the league is stupid enough to get behind this nonsense, which means their ratings will continue to tank.

    Wakeup call to the players and the league office: The vast majority of NFL fans do not, repeat, DO NOT, see law enforcement as the enemy in this country, and for one very good reason; they are not.

    It would be a good thing for these wizards-of-smart at the league office to remember that the same law enforcement officers which Colin Kaepernick and now others are trashing, are present at every NFL game to help keep order. If the NFL takes up this cause, I’d love to see those officers refuse to serve at NFL stadiums any longer, and let the league watch what happens as a result.

  17. Did all of you get upset when the NFL started to support Breast Cancer Awareness month to honor those afflicted?

    I mean, shouldn’t they have just kept to football?

    My guess is, you didn’t have a problem with it, probably because you know someone afficted or you know someone who knows someone who has. This makes a huge difference as to whether most people support a cause or not.

    The hypocrisy in this world is sickening sometimes.

  18. I have already stopped aal viewing of espn content, and if this continues, I will stop all consumption of the NFL, including the products that sponsor the NFL. I know I am only one person, and you might say good riddens, but I also know that there are a great many people just like me.

  19. Hope the Commissioner is paying attention to the comments. Not sure the owners want to shoot themselves in the foot here. Thankfully none of the owners will hire Kaepernick because they recognize the distraction a player like that would bring to a franchise (and no telling what a loose cannon like Kaepernick would do next – if given the opportunity).

  20. 32-3 thumbs up to thumbs down. People just wantt to watch FOOTBALL!!! Seriously I was a hardcore a football fan as you can get but anymore if I have ANYTHING to do on Sunday’s I’ll do it instead of watching.

  21. People go to sporting events for entertainment and a break from work etc.
    They don’t want politics injected into their leisure time. At the Saratoga Race track, in New York State a heavily Democratic , liberal state. When they flashed a picture of Hilary Clinton ( who was attending the races and easily won NY) on the jumbotrons, she was roundly and loudly booed. They quickly cut back to horses.

  22. Have almost completely quit watching the NFL. Cut the cord on ESPN 3 months ago and don’t miss either in the least! Much more politics in the NFL and I will be totally done and on to other things on Sunday afternoons! Time and a place for everything players… a lesson that you might want to learn before you have killed the golden goose.

  23. This is a lose-lose for the league. Do it & you risk alienating your customers. Don’t do it & you will alienate the players.

  24. HA!! Total karma visiting the league for changing our teams’ colors and logos to pink and camo and shoving it at us for 2 months.

  25. I totally support this. We are the best country in the world. I am a very proud American and I served my country in the military. The reason I took such offense to Kap is because his protest was nothing has changed and he could not be more wrong. We have made tremendous strides but we have a ways to go. Sports and entertainment industries have proved that races work together every single day and prove what can be done. Yes, some of the changes were made because it was forced but can any true football fan say that a player or a coach is better because of their race? It is the player and the coach that can pull their team of all races and compete every week. Protest to Progress is an amazing goal. We are one nation, under one God, let’s educate and embrace rather than separate and hate.

  26. As far as I’m concerned, November should be military appreciation month and that’s it. No other awareness months. I’m all for the NFL donating money to cancer research, I’ve lost loved ones to cancer, but I don’t think we need everything to be pink for the month of October. I’m all for the NFL donating money to any cause that they want, but I don’t need to have it shoved in my face for a month.

    The military appreciation is different, in my opinion, because it is the military that fights for and defends our right to live in this country. And, yes, that includes the rights of these guys that are sitting/kneeling for the national anthem.

    Sitting/kneeling/raising a fist during the anthem is about as peaceful a protest as you will find. I hope that sitting/kneeling/raising a fist is not the only thing that they are doing. If it is then they are just doing it for the attention, they are not actually helping anything. The only issue I have with the anthem protest is the fact that you are at work, representing your bosses company, and sooner or later that is going to affect the company’s bottom line. Which will also, sooner or later, affect your bottom line when there is less money to share with the players.

  27. When this happens, I’m officially done. None of these foolish “I’ll boycott IF” threats, it’s not a boycott if you never plan to come back. At this point I’d rather watch the CFL or College ball.

  28. What they don’t get is that the average Joe fan just wants to watch some football and read real football coverage as a diversion from the politics and issues. It was so much better when we could just tune in to a game for a couple of hours each week and just enjoy it. If we can’t enjoy it any longer guess what? we will find our diversion somewhere else.

  29. So basically, a “group” of 4 people propose this to the NFL, yeah that should do wonders to help the failing ratings and ticket sales!
    They might be more believable that they really care about the “issues” if they took up their social justice in the offseason and non-gamedays, instead they look like attention grabbing morons who have no clue as to the “issue” they are promoting.

  30. Do it and I cancel the season tickets I’ve had for the past 20 years. I’m sure there are many others who feel the same way. this is becoming a joke.

  31. Shut up and play.
    We can stop watching, but if you really want to hit em in the wallet, cancel cable. The TV deals are insanely lucrative to the NFL, and it’s all garbage anyway.

    At this rate, the NFL will truely mean “Not For Long”

  32. The Dallas players that wanted to stand for the police that werecslain there were denied before. If they have an activism month then those players would get support too am I correct?

  33. If you read the memo you will realize what an incredible amount of time those players have wasted and want to continue wasting rather than playing football. They basically want to be paid NFL salaries to be full time activists who sometimes play a little football on the weekend. I feel sorry for their teams and teammates. Sorta.

  34. Did all of you get upset when the NFL started to support Breast Cancer Awareness month to honor those afflicted?

    I mean, shouldn’t they have just kept to football?

    My guess is, you didn’t have a problem with it, probably because you know someone afficted or you know someone who knows someone who has. This makes a huge difference as to whether most people support a cause or not.

    The hypocrisy in this world is sickening sometimes.

    11 158 Rate This
    _____________________________________________________________________
    We support it because there is NO POLITICS INVOLVED!!! Get a clue.

  35. NFL players have 7 months in the offseason to dedicate themselves to social justice, activism or whatever cause they want. I don’t want to see any of these month long dedications on the field.

  36. The NFL already does through the whole season: Play60, their United Way partnerships, etc. etc. That’s sufficient. I’ve already begun tuning out, but if they seriously make politics a full-on part of their broadcast policy, that will be it.

  37. Liberal Journalists might not think anything is wrong with this but if I want to watch political stories I will go to political news sites. I just want sports to be about SPORTS!!!!!!! I am tired of all of this politics in sports. If the NFL doesn’t watch out they are going to lose a large fan base. It is getting close for me. I don’t go to the stadiums but I do buy the NFL ticket and I am close to saying that it is enough. I think I can by with just watching a free game a week on TV. Even that might become a problem down the road.

  38. I wonder: would any of this be happening if Kaepernick was already on an NFL roster? I think not. The league should have foreseen that ignoring the Kaep situation would only lead to more problems. We can expect to see entire teams kneeling due to “racism” and then the cops will stop showing up to guard the players in the first place. Unintended consequences can be a real pain…

  39. I’ll try this again.

    @24hoursinaday24beersinacase says:
    September 21, 2017 at 10:36 am
    Did all of you get upset when the NFL started to support Breast Cancer Awareness month to honor those afflicted?
    I mean, shouldn’t they have just kept to football? My guess is, you didn’t have a problem with it, probably because you know someone afflicted or you know someone who knows someone who has. This makes a huge difference as to whether most people support a cause or not. The hypocrisy in this world is sickening sometimes.
    ========================================================================================
    Over 40k men and women will die this year from Breast Cancer, and another 200k will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. You don’t know what hypocrisy is.

  40. Activism Awareness Month? Are you serious? We have “activism” shoved down our throat everywhere we turn. Pro sports was our escape from everyday lives. But not anymore. Once we could turn on our TV on Sunday and root for our team without thinking about what color anything but the jersey was. Now if we hate a player on another team and he’s black, we are racist. This is where “activism” is taking us. Especially in sports. Bias is natural and accepted where fans are concerned, but “activism” stepped in we all became bigots and racists. Sports brought people together and hating each others teams was the norm and both sides enjoyed it. Now we have “activists” telling us what we need to think and sharing their opinions on what used to be a day that belonged to the fans. Want to be an activist, fine, you have the right to speak, just remember I have the right not to listen….And the NFL wonders why viewer-ship is down?

  41. These guys just don’t seem smart enough to understand that the NFL is a business and upsetting your customers is bad for business. Even Goodell isn’t stupid enough to go against the money.

  42. Traitors. All of them who disrespect the National Anthem or the Flag. If the NFL agrees with these traitors, then I am done with them.

  43. This is a great idea…said no one ever. People go to sporting events to escape from the real world and the last thing they want to hear is the political agenda from…anybody. Frankly I’m tired of how much their already is.

  44. So one retired player and three players that will make a combined $27,875,000 this year are proposing an Activist Awareness Month? I can see how the average fan can relate to this.

  45. The NFL is now the platform for pushing political agendas and personal opinions. Watch the ratings take a dive because of this, as this can only go so long and fans will get tired of it.

    We watch NFL football for the game and players who play football, not to push political agendas. We have enough politics in our daily life, we don’t need them in NFL football.

  46. Jason Whitlock was right when he said that sports have always been about conservative values, and now liberals (and left media) are trying to make sports all about liberal values. They always talk about Trump being a bully. Who is the real bully?

  47. The problem with this? Nothing. I am tired of people with voices, such as athletes, movie stars, and the media, staying silent about the atrocities being committed against women, minorities, gays, the elderly, Muslims, and atheists by the Republican Party because people don’t want to hear about it. Well, too bad, make sure they hear about it and get woke. Jimmy Kimmel is trying to educate America about how the proposed health care bill will kill millions of people, but his ratings are low. The NFL: needs to stand up for social justice, and Is would support it for doing so.

  48. I keep reading comments along the lines of “keep football and ‘politics’ separate”.

    But I ask you, when is an appropriate time to bring up social injustices?

    Answer: There is never a good time. No one ever “wants to hear it”, right?

    Colin Kaepernick started this movement last year because he knew he had a large audience that would see the message. People may not like it or even agree with it, but at least he got everyone to acknowledge the topic, which, sadly, qualifies for progress.

    The social justice movement doesn’t hurt you, affect you, or cost you one dime. So why are people so against it and Kap? Can’t we all just “agree to disagree”? You may not agree there is a social justice problem in 21st Century America, but many others strongly do. Can’t you just accept them *briefly* airing their opinions during your valuable pre-game time?

    The backlash against Kap and this movement just blows my mind. Get on the right side of history!

  49. Contrast this to the efforts offered by many NFL players who raised money for hurricane relief. Do the social activism on your own dime.

  50. iejdaniel says:
    September 21, 2017 at 11:42 am
    The NFL should check out the ratings for the Emmys a few days ago. That is all they need to know.
    —————–
    The Nielsen rating system is as archaic as the internal combustion engine. They do not take into account online streaming or DVR.

    But you go ahead and keep thinking it’s the liberal agenda as to why people are not tuning in.

  51. The problem with this? Nothing. I am tired of people with voices, such as athletes, movie stars, and the media, staying silent about the atrocities being committed against women, minorities, gays, the elderly, Muslims, and atheists by the Republican Party because people don’t want to hear about it. Well, too bad, make sure they hear about it and get woke. Jimmy Kimmel is trying to educate America about how the proposed health care bill will kill millions of people, but his ratings are low. The NFL: needs to stand up for social justice, and Is would support it for doing so.
    ======================================================================================

    I am cool with that as long as they are cool with declining revenues and sales as more and more of us decide to take our free time and money and spend it at other venues that don’t try to screw up our relaxation time with their political/social agendas. Who knows maybe they will make even more money but current numbers show the opposite.

    Most seem not to have learned a very basic lesson my grandparents taught me at a young age, don’t discuss politics nor religion while at work. Sorry but when they are on the field or on the screen they are at work and violating this simple rule that will keep you from ticking off a large portion of your potential customers. But again if you don’t need the customers, go for it.

  52. laffers says:
    September 21, 2017 at 6:18 am
    Since when is the NFL an organization to point out the issues of the day and lend support to the issue certain players find important. In my opinion, the NFL should stick to the GAMES.
    —————————————-
    Explain to me again why in October the NFL promotes Breast Cancer Awareness and in November a salute to service? To me it (aside from the fact the league doesn’t promote prostate cancer awareness for its core demographic) is absolutely in a position to be a leading corporate voice since this is an issue relevant to the majority of its players. To say the league shouldnt be is to ignore the fact it already does this on issues you’re not mentioning.

  53. activism my a dollar sign + dollar sign. I am glad to have move on from watching the nfl every sunday. used to be a charger fan until they moved to LA. now I have 4 hours to play with my kids. priceless!!!

  54. Good for them, I hope the NFL follows through with this. It would be good to get some attention paid to the issue of police brutality. Hopefully all the trump trash that say they will stop watching follow through with it and go away. Why would they want to watch people they think they are superior to? They don’t think minorities are equal and have 1st amendment rights so move on. NFL will be fine without you.

  55. My NFL watching is already down 80% from last year, and this won’t help get me to 79%. I dislike all the other “awareness” events in sports. It reeks of exclusion (is breast cancer really more worthy of awareness than lung cancer or other cancers?). I like to be inclusive. Have a “chewing tobacco is disgusting to the general public and can cause cancer” awareness month!! Start a list so over the next 50 years all maladies/perceived social ills can have an awareness month in the NFL. I don’t see the NFL surviving any longer than that.

  56. Oh goody. I planned to only watch Raiders games and maybe a few SNF and MNF this year. I guess I’m down to only Raiders games now if this happens. What will I do with all that time I’m not watching football? Maybe spend the time not watching movies in theater the rest of the year.

  57. sllabskcustfpk says:
    September 21, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Colin Kaepernick started this movement last year because he knew he had a large audience that would see the message.

    The backlash against Kap and this movement just blows my mind. Get on the right side of history!

    __________________
    Colin Kaepernick started this because he got called out for sulking over his benching (for poor play, and back then it was pretty unanimous that SF needed to get him off the field) and he needed an excuse other than admitting he was just being a baby about losing his job.

    Kaep is getting no backlash at all. No one has done anything to silence him nor has he been silenced. All that has happened is no one wants to pay him for it either. There is a big difference between suffering backlash over something and just not being given money for it. Thats what should be bloowing peeople’s minds is this ongoing perception that he is somehow owed a job because of his actions.

  58. Any activism? Or just the brand prescribed by the kneelers?

    What if a player is a gun nut, and wants the NFL support unfettered gun ownership rights.

    Are we willing to back that kind of activism?

    Or only the kind that peddles the myth that white cops are hunting down black men?

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