NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin, founders of the Players Coalition, today on a conference call to tout a partnership that will result in NFL owners providing $89 million to social justice causes supported by the players.
“We have a unique opportunity here for NFL players and for NFL owners to work together,” Goodell said. “This is a result of unprecedented dialogue and cooperation between NFL players, ownership and our office over the last year.”
Goodell did not stay on the conference call long enough to answer reporters’ questions, but Boldin said he did not necessarily see the owners’ commitment to players’ causes as an indication that the players would stop kneeling during the national anthem.
“This deal for us was never about telling guys what they can or can’t do. It was never about telling guys that they can’t protest or to stop protesting. This agreement was the NFL listening to the concerns of its players and responding in a like matter,” Boldin said.
Jenkins said he believes players and owners can lobby together for criminal justice reform and education, issues that many players and many owners support.
“We want to take money out of sending people to jail and put it toward education and opportunities for economic advancement,” Jenkins said.
Still, not all players are on board. Russell Okung called the deal “a farce” and said that if the owners were sincere, then they would stop blackballing Colin Kaepernick. So while the league is on the same page with some of its players, not everyone sees the players and owners as unified.