NFL’s “Let’s Listen Together” sounds good, in theory

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If you can get past the whiplash of the NFL taking credit for doing something they seemed to be fighting the last two years, they might be doing a good thing now.

The league has announced a joint player and owner project called “Let’s Listen Together,” which will publicize players’ work toward social justice causes and racial equality.

The press release is the culmination of the seven-year plan which earmarked $89 million to go toward player causes, after a series of meetings last fall. While that sounds like a big check, it works out to $400,000 per team per year.

At this point, let’s let the league’s words speak for themselves. With an all-caps headline blaring: “NFL BUILDS ON COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL JUSTICE,” they rolled out their best corporate PR-speak to tell you how great the plan is.

“As part of its ongoing work to support its players, the NFL today announced a joint player and ownership commitment focused on social justice,” the release reads. “The campaign, Let’s Listen Together, launches today and includes a multi-layered roll-out including digital content and brand spots highlighting the player-led work on social and racial equality. The platform will also include social media support, as well as individual letters from players and owners sharing their stories and personal reasons for making social justice a priority.”

A few things here. One, Colin Kaepernick‘s football career is spinning in its grave at the thought of the league’s well-built commitment to social justice, since his peaceful protest of racial inequality and police brutality has led to a de facto blackballing from the sport. Two, the portion of the $1 million Kaepernick has donated (despite the lack of a paycheck) to a Minneapolis urban farm can’t create the kind of word salad the league just tossed there.

But if you can get past that, the league seems to be doing two of the things the league does best — create marketing campaigns and committees.

The working group committee for the campaign includes Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, Jaguars owner Shad Khan, and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, along with Jets tackle Kelvin Beachum, retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Jets quarterback Josh McCown, Washington cornerback Josh Norman and Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams.

Once you get past any initial skepticism, the league has the opportunity to use its incredible platform to do some good. There are loads of players doing real work in real communities to try to bring people together. Highlighting the good cannot be a bad thing, despite everything the league and its owners did to try to quiet voices who were trying to bring attention to the exact same causes.

With the league’s owners making it very clear last fall that they wanted their players standing for the national anthem through measures overt and unspoken, it’s also hard to accept at face value the NFL’s “commitment to social justice.” When the President stepped into the fray and started slinging mud at them, it made it seem clear that their first priority was making the noise go away.

And if throwing some money and some production at the problem convinces people they’re sincere, then their plan will have worked.

30 responses to “NFL’s “Let’s Listen Together” sounds good, in theory

  1. “But if you can get past that…”

    It’s simply pathetic we have to preface things like that these days. At any rate, my understanding was that the NFL was merely going to help create a platform for the players… the heavy lifting is on the players, and not the NFL, to put up or shut up, in effect.

  2. Squid stole about $35 million from the 9ers over his last two seasons there. Giving half ass effort and winning a grand total of 3 games over that stretch. He’s not shaking the change out of his coat pockets to make those donations. With the tax write off benefit he probably comes out ahead on the deal.

  3. The NFL has been embarrassing in their response to the anthem protests, and in their dealings with the military. Roger Goodell seems to have no clue. The Pats/Eagles super Bowl will be the least witched super bowl in modern history. WATCH.

  4. Why does it have to be advertised about helping people ? Tons of players help their community, both black and white communities, and you never hear a thing. It’s what you do instead of what you proclaim to do. How much is enough to give the minority community ? I mean really. They have been getting millions for decades and nothing has changed. Change comes from within and the change needed does not need money.

  5. lukedunphysscienceproject says:

    January 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    This might be a good place to drop in the info that the NFL rejected an ad from AMVETS called “#pleasestand” for the Super Bowl program.

    Discuss.
    ____________________________

    Best Quote from the NFL regarding this… cant make this stuff up.

    NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Monday: “The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl. It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”

    I assume he meant the regular season is the time and place for politics.

  6. Talk about whatever you want to talk about. You want to invite people to listen, go for it, invite the whole world to listen!
    Don’t do it during our anthem! It doesn’t even rate in importance when our Anthem is being played. Our Anthem is the only thing that matters when it’s being played! Keep “so-called” social injustice drama out of the time that we devote to our military and our heroes.

  7. lukedunphysscienceproject says:
    January 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm
    This might be a good place to drop in the info that the NFL rejected an ad from AMVETS called “#pleasestand” for the Super Bowl program.

    Discuss.

    ________________________________

    Because it looks ungrateful, petty,and like a money grab. The NFL already raised more money than the other leagues for weeks for their effort. It’s a blatant PR move to go viral and raise more money for their cause…while sparking more drama the NFL doesn’t need with its players, when the all that drama has basically blown over.

  8. The idea of social justice will fall on deaf ears. People have heard so much about all of these I justices, they simply aren’t listening anymore. The who movement has oversaturated the viewing audience and it is over.

    Everything is racist now. Snow? Site and racist to even talk about. Can’t drink milk anymore. Every leader in this countries history must be erased because the mere sight of George Washington might trigger an SJW. I could list things for an hour about how racist we all are, but everyone knows by now what these things are.

    The entire movement is politically motivated and designed to create divide among the people. It is ridiculous that we are at this point in the 21st century.

  9. Why do people always need to be helped???

    That’s the single difference between the left and the right.

    The left is always looking to help out and subsidize, the right wants people to stand on their own feet and support themselves and their family, if that means two jobs then so be it.

  10. phootbolgawd says:

    January 23, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Because it looks ungrateful, petty,and like a money grab. The NFL already raised more money than the other leagues for weeks for their effort. It’s a blatant PR move to go viral and raise more money for their cause…while sparking more drama the NFL doesn’t need with its players, when the all that drama has basically blown over.
    __________

    phootbolgawd says:

    January 23, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    lukedunphysscienceproject says:
    January 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm
    This might be a good place to drop in the info that the NFL rejected an ad from AMVETS called “#pleasestand” for the Super Bowl program.

    Discuss.

    ________________________________

    “Freedom of speech works both ways,” Polk (20 year Veteran+) said in his letter. “We respect the rights of those we choose to protest as these rights are precisely what our members have fought — and in many cases died — for. But imposing corporate censorship to deny that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.”

    Dunno, kind of hard to disagree…

  11. Is this like the bang up job they’ve been doing with the Rooney rule? Cause that seems to be above reproach recently…..

  12. The NFL is becoming more and more pathetic. Pandering to the intolerant, hate-mongering “social justice” activists who demand total allegiance to their views. I’m sorry I don’t need need some multi-millionaire, Castro loving, police hating kneeler to preach to me about oppression.

  13. I didn’t want CK “blackballed” for his kneeling. I wanted him blackballed for his overt disregard for the police(eg. wearing “pig” socks)and for basic human rights(eg. his fondness for Cuban socialists who consistently oppress the rights of their citizens). Now he has time to focus on all the perceived “injustices” committed by the “racist” police.

  14. So the movement led by colin kaepernick will be resulting in a lot of good. Never would have known it if I only read comments.

  15. People can think how they want to think. I will day it’s really not too bright to upset half your fantasy who will speak with their wallets by injecting politics or religion. I don’t care what your industry is outside you know politics or religion. Half the fans leave what do these players think happens to their contracts next go round. Not too smart at all.

    Secondly quit with freedom of speech, that applies to government and the citizens. Nothing in a private company falls under that law unless you know it’s part of your contract. I’m starting to agree more and more that the NFL is gone in 20 years when you combine the cte issue and now you’re going to chase away half your fanbase and hurt revenue. Hope it was worth it. College ball is better anyways

  16. The league has no moral obligation to partake in this program and is doing it as a business practice and as a service to their communities and players.

    I do not think there is anything the league can do to satisfy most of you “sports joranlists” tho. Get off your high horse PFT.

  17. Sure they can. Stay out of it. Most people watch sports to get away from this stuff. The way to satisfy most is leave it alone. Tell players to do this on their own time and time and focus on what most fans tune in for. The sport and competition

  18. jdubkc says:
    January 23, 2018 at 1:19 pm
    lukedunphysscienceproject says:

    January 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    This might be a good place to drop in the info that the NFL rejected an ad from AMVETS called “#pleasestand” for the Super Bowl program.

    Discuss.
    ____________________________

    Best Quote from the NFL regarding this… cant make this stuff up.

    NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Monday: “The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl. It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”

    I assume he meant the regular season is the time and place for politics.
    _____________________________________

    Ok McCarthy, how do those horrible anti cigarette company ads fit your definition?

  19. NFL just didn’t learn from history. They need to call Larry Flynn and find out what happens when you attempt to inject things like politics or religion into a business that people frequent to get away from both

  20. Why the National Protest League has so little respect for our great country, I’ll never know. The hole gets deeper every day. Patiently waiting to show up here one day and see an article of apology from the League and it’s employees.

  21. The NFL rejected the AM VETS request to sponsor a commercial asking everyone to stand during the national anthem. The NFL is a collection of progressive liberals who prefer to block free speech and promote their own weak kneed propaganda. The NFL owners must be hypocrites who have sold their souls for the profit that comes on the backs of everyday people; not the Prima donna players. Talk about hypocrites – these a multi millionaire entertainers raving about social justice. A concept few can define concisely.

  22. Here is a short list of NFL gaffes under Goodell:

    Allow Rams players to protest based on a lie.
    Don’t allow Dallas players to honor slain police officers.
    Do nothing to Crowell after posting a drawing of a police officer having his throat slashed on Instagram.
    Allow players to kneel during the anthem.
    Allow the NFLPA to honor an activist who supports illegals, wore pig socks and supports Castro.
    Don’t allow vets to put an ad in asking people to stand.

    It’s like they are daring their former fans to stay away.

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