Russell Okung: NFL’s social-justice deal is “a farce”

Getty Images

Chargers tackle Russell Okung previously belonged to the Players Coalition. Like others (including 49ers safety Eric Reid and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas), Okung has left the group.

“That’s just something, I feel, that’s been made into a farce,” Okung said Friday, via the Los Angeles Times. “We are in a sport where we have people of color. Men of color have prominent roles in this league as players. Now is a pivotal time to be able to leverage that correctly.”

Okung, like others, isn’t pleased that the deal that isn’t really a deal failed to address the role of Colin Kaepernick in sparking the effort to bring attention to issues of police brutality and racial equality. Also, the $89 million over seven years simply doesn’t seem like enough to Okung (and he’s not incorrect) to balance out the wink-nod hope that players will now choose to stand for the national anthem.

“I think you’ve got to keep in mind who started this whole thing, who sort of put himself on the line,” Okung said. “There’s definitely some respect there. I believe this is the same league who has effectively blackballed him. So when you’re dealing with a certain group of people, this entity as a league — you try to keep in mind, is this a reparation, or just $89 million? Reparation extends beyond just dollars and cents, in real change in policy and lobbying. I think that should be more at the forefront of what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

Okung believes that the effort shouldn’t fizzle out with the contribution of funds by a league of teams for which the cash is a drop in the bucket.

“It goes beyond just allocating funds from other initiatives that are just as important,” Okung said of an allocation that works out to $400,000 per team per year for seven years. “It’s going to take a real commitment of us, leveraging the platform of the players and empowering us to really talk about these issues, police engagement and brutality.”

And so the deal that isn’t really a deal may not be a deal, if the players who are unhappy with the outcome resist the not-so-subtle urging to stand for the anthem. While resistance could still spark a mandate to stand (not likely) or a decision to revert to the pre-2009 approach of staying in the locker room for the anthem (not out of the question), Okung and others realize that this issue is too big to just fade gradually into oblivion — which is undoubtedly what the NFL craves.

However this one ends, this doesn’t feel like the final chapter. Where it goes from here remains to be seen, and people like Okung, Reid, and Thomas could have important roles in figuring it all out.

50 responses to “Russell Okung: NFL’s social-justice deal is “a farce”

  1. Translation: I didn’t get $300 m dollars per year for my charity and for hush money personally or as a group for joining this “group”. I didn’t get Goddell breaking down in tears over my personal supposed hardships, or Kapernick. I didn’t get the promise of Kaepernick of his job back.
    Therefore, because I didn’t get what I want, I’m standing up to the man, again, just like I did when I negotiate my own contracts with Denver and beyond, and get screwed, where some of that extra money I could’ve made could’ve gone to the social causes I stand for.

    That’ll show them.

  2. If Okung, Reid and Thomas really want to make a statement, why don’t they quit the NFL that has treated them so badly and devote all of their time and energy to their ’cause’. In fact, they might as well donate the millions of dollars they made from the NFL to the cause as well. If they continue to work for and take money from the NFL while at the same time ripping it, then they are hypocrites.

  3. How much money did the nfl make off the D.O.D for the military recruiting ceremony before kickoff?

  4. Believe me, after watching him only show up for half the games while taking $50 million from the Seahawks, I can assure you that it is Russell Okung who is the “farce.”

  5. SO the NFL is trying to provide a solution, which the Players are not, other than protesting, but the NFL is the problem and their solution is a farce. So what is the players solution, because as of right now, I have not heard anything reported, other than them saying that if you don’t like the protests, don’t come to games or watch. Good problem solving skills shown right there.

  6. The NFL should make it clear that this money will be taken out prior to the profit calculations that determines the new salary caps. You know, they are part of “the entity”.

    It is not your bosses job to support YOUR CAUSE…

  7. Malcolm Jenkins needs to give this Players Coalition to the players. The NFL needs to do more than donate money to this cause. Racial equality/inequality is not a problem that will be fixed with money.

    It’s truly sad that Kaepernick had to be the face of this movement because his ignorance (the pig socks and Castro shirt) has only divided us further. I am personally glad he’s not speaking publicly, even though I support what this movement is about.

  8. NFL….no matter what you do they will never be happy….give them more money? LOL no way…it will never be enough….good luck!

  9. The NFL didn’t HAVE to give ANYTHING. To gripe that 89 million dollars isn’t “enough” is like a hungry person saying, “You’re only giving me one sandwich?” A gift is a gift, even from a bunch of billionaires. These malcontents need to shut up and be grateful to the ones who made THEM a millionaires while they were at it! (The issues are real; dragging them into an entertainment industry is a tiresome grab at attention and misdirected complaining.)

  10. The lack of leadership in the NFL, owners and players say a lot about them. Perhaps a group of fans should go to the players home and protest, and do the same to owners, hey! everyone has a right to bitch about everything. Bill…Or perhaps the owners should start taking 5% from all the players to pay for there cause, or perhaps the teams should give the fans a rebate for watching a knee instead of a game.

  11. I’ve never heard so many people so upset that another person is asking for justice and equality. What are you all afraid of that makes you lash out at Okung for saying more should be done to treat people fairly? I’m not trying to start a debate, though I do humbly ask that you think on it for a moment. What is the reason you are attacking someone who is simply asking for humanity to prevail?

  12. I would bet my house but the charities that the NFL teams end up donating to Will take 100 times more action than this player and every other player combined.

  13. Players should have told the NFL to keep its chump change. That $89M isn’t worth one life taken by Police. Most of them are crooks with a badge and gun, and don’t follow the law. Is it little wonder no one respects them!

  14. letsberealpeople says:
    “I’m not trying to start a debate, though I do humbly ask that you think
    on it for a moment. What is the reason you are attacking someone who is
    simply asking for humanity to prevail?”

    Maybe these comments makes people uncomfortable:

    “So when you’re dealing with a certain group of people, this entity
    as a league — you try to keep in mind, is this a reparation, or
    just $89 million?”

    “We are in a sport where we have people of color,” Okung said.
    “Men of color have prominent roles in this league as players.
    Now is a pivotal time to be able to leverage that correctly.”

    —-

    So, is this a reparation, or just $89 million?
    Sounds to me like Mr Okung is holding the NFL culpable for injustices
    that exist in society, the Kaep situation, and wants ‘a certain group of
    people’ held accountable and liable to make reparations.

    I’d like to hear more from Mr Okung, because if I was just a bit more
    cynical, I might think this call to action as an attempt at extortion.
    What exactly does the NFL need to pay reparations for ?
    And who is to benefit ?

    I understood their reasons to protest and the need shine the spotlight
    on police brutality and social injustices, but seems to me, this is
    beginning to sound like a shake down.

    And this comes from someone who supported the players’ right
    to protest. But now, this movement seems to have taken a bad turn.

    Perhaps Mr Eric Reid will clarify. He seems to have the inside scoop
    on these matters. Where is this money really coming from? and is this
    effort important enough for the Players Association to match the
    $89 million? Or is this merely a power play by a group of players
    against ‘a certain group of people’.

  15. How about the players donating $89mil to combat under age pregnancies and black on black crime? The first kills any chance of upward mobility and the latter kills exponentially more young black men than the police do.

  16. @lets erealpeoe

    Because instead of having gratitude towards the generosity of the NFL for doing something that they have no obligation to do, Russell Okung & Co. call it a farce. They complain. And what else are they doing? How does he exemplify what he himself is doing that surpasses the NFL’s generosity?

    it’s not hard to understand the backlash.

  17. Reparations??? Who exactly have the owners harmed? Did they cause this “social injustice”? Hmm, maybe they have harmed the players by paying them millions? No? Ok, so it must just be that their crime is being rich and mostly white. I guess that is good enough for you.

  18. That’s why I no longer have cable or satellite tv. Only thing football related I do anymore is fantasy football. Go protest in the inner city and tell the young men to stop fathering babies if they don’t plan on raising them. Kids need their Dads. Actions speak louder than your malcontent idiotic protest. Protest African nations that kidnap, enslave & torture people of color. Roger that!!!

  19. If you don’t like it Russell, why didn’t you provide a better suggestion? At least the NFL, Jenkins & Boldin are trying to do something. Idk but it seems pretty clear certain players want to accomplish something and certain players just want to cry about it. I was on the players side but now just the players who are trying to do something besides talk. And to the people who keep saying protest on your own time, why don’t you go salute the troops ok your own time? I’ll tell you why you and they won’t, this is the biggest platform. These demonstrations don’t take time away from the game, it literally has no impact on the game and if you’re not watching because of the demonstrations, whatever, good, go watch a dog show

  20. Most of them are crooks with a badge and gun, and don’t follow the law.
    ——
    Dumbest comment ever on Pft?

  21. cobrala2 says:
    December 2, 2017 at 5:22 pm
    @lets erealpeoe

    Because instead of having gratitude towards the generosity of the NFL for doing something that they have no obligation to do, Russell Okung & Co. call it a farce. They complain. And what else are they doing? How does he exemplify what he himself is doing that surpasses the NFL’s generosity?

    it’s not hard to understand the backlash.

    __________________________________________________________________________

    Guaranteed that you, and 99% of the rest of the idiots on this board, haven’t researched one iota of what these players are doing in their community.

    Take 2 seconds and look up his teens at risk program. Oh wait, that doesn’t fit the narrative that players are whiny babies.

    Ignorance runs rampant through NFL fanship.

  22. the NFL doesn’t OWE the players ANYTHING. They get paid to play football and shut up while on the field. I am sick of them always wanting a ‘Hand Out’, but then again that is how many where raised, in communities where they get everything for free from the government and hard working tax payers. how about some self responsibility and maturity and go into the neighborhoods and stop the gangs, Make fathers not leave their families, Teach kids to respect teachers and go get a real job and then things for “minorities” will get better. So sick of all the FREE STUFF

  23. The players are complaining about a charitable gift towards the cause they supposedly are championing. They are also not collectively giving anything themselves towards their cause. The mentality displayed by Okung and the others that bailed on their coalition is the equivalent of Jerry Lewis answering the phone during one of those telethons and saying “How much do you pledge? Only 89 million dollars, that’s it?! No thanks!” and then rolling his eyes on TV while hanging up the phone.

  24. Social Justice is nothing but a way to shake down people. Millionaires leading the charge is hilarious. But hey decades of Sharpton and Jackson, with a ex President to boot, they think it’s time for Reparations. O.P.P.

  25. patswhatsup says:
    December 2, 2017 at 5:58 pm
    Guaranteed that you, and 99% of the rest of the idiots on this board, haven’t researched one iota of what these players are doing in their community.

    Take 2 seconds and look up his teens at risk program. Oh wait, that doesn’t fit the narrative that players are whiny babies.

    Ignorance runs rampant through NFL fanship.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I don’t think you quite understand the backlash. Let’s just use your example. You probably had to google it as would most of us here. Yet, none of us need to google the kneelers or what they supposedly stand for because it is shoved in our faces by the players in pre-game and by the media at large as well as the seemingly personal crusade of the primary author on this particular site. It isn’t about the cause or that’s what we would be hearing about. Instead it is about “standing up to the man”, virtue signaling and some twisted shaming of white people for their mythical ‘privilege’. Again, using your example, there are several players who do charitable things on their own. There are also many players who do charitable stuff solely because it is stipulated in EVERY player contract that they do a specific amount of charity work, promotional appearances, etc. within the community. I am not saying that it is bad. I’m simply saying that some of the charity work is mandatory rather than being the product of a charitable mindset.

  26. Reparation this… Ungrateful privileged rich beyond belief little boys! Every one of you jerks make more money for a week than I ever made in years of working a real job and you have the nerve to whine about something that has never affected you personally. Quit the gravy train known as the NFL and donate all your millions to charity and take a job that pays you $20,000 a year and then tell me how bad you got it. I’ll believe you then when you’re riding the bus to work 4:30 AM and the cops are hassling you asking you what you’re doing on the street at that time. Most people are lucky to survive in this world and you snowflakes are whining about having to salute the flag of the country that allows you to have it so good. LOL!

  27. Simple solution: The NFL fines any player who disrespects the National anthem $10k….then doubles the fine for each subsequent violation. Proceeds to be awarded to the Widows of Fallen First Responders and Wounded Warriors. And any player who objects can return their signing bonus and move up to Canada and give it a go in that socialist bubble.
    Owners are fools to be black mailed like this

  28. ‘Also, the $89 million over seven years simply doesn’t seem like enough to Okung (and he’s not incorrect) to balance out the wink-nod hope that players will now choose to stand for the national anthem.’

    He’s not incorrect? That’s over a million dollars a month for the next seven years. Tell me what they’re going to do with it, and why that’s not enough. And perhaps the players should be involved more in their free time, and not just pre-game.

  29. Reparations. Reparations? Show me where my Dad, Grandad, Great granddad, great great Granddad, or anyone in my family owes you reparations. Odds are clear, the majority of the people of America were against slavery. I feel it kind of proved that in the civil war. Are we going to be like the Sunni Shia conflict, raging for the next 1300 years?

  30. patswhatsup says: December 2, 2017 at 5:58 pm
    Guaranteed that you, and 99% of the rest of the idiots on this board, haven’t researched one iota of what these players are doing in their community.
    Take 2 seconds and look up his teens at risk program. Oh wait, that doesn’t fit the narrative that players are whiny babies.
    Ignorance runs rampant through NFL fanship.

    Don’t know about whiny babies, but ingrate, misguided, and unappreciative sure seem accurate. There’s a million problems in this world, everyone has some that are important to them. He may be the best guy on earth, and whatever he does on HIS time is great, but I wouldn’t give him the time of day for his disrespect of American symbols. Nobody wants politics with our football. And at what point did this SJW B/S become the responsibility of the employers or by extension of me as the fan/customer?!

  31. pantherpro says: December 2, 2017 at 8:20 pm
    Of course its a farrce it was put together by a bunch of white elite racist NFL owners. What do you expect?

    Right, because if they didn’t do it, who would? Let me know when it’s moving day from your parents basement.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!