Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks was the first to call out commissioner Roger Goodell and the league, saying they weren’t doing enough. Kendricks then was one of 18 players to participate in a video that prompted Goodell to answer with a video a day later.
On Tuesday, Kendricks was asked his reaction to Goodell’s video.
“That response was good,” Kendricks said in a Zoom call with reporters. “That’s what we wanted. We wanted to be acknowledged. We wanted it to be out there. It’s uncomfortable for everybody. Obviously, we play football, and we want to try to keep it to football as much as possible, but these are issues that are facing the majority of the players’ communities. So for us to feel like we can’t speak up about it and X, Y, Z, it just didn’t feel right. Finally having Goodell say those things and having our back, I felt like we can all move forward now. We all can take a deep breath and go after these issues that are plaguing our country. I’m thankful. I’m thankful that once again I have this platform and I have these resources that the Vikings have been so generous [in providing]. I truly believe that it’s going to bring the best out in all of us.”
Kendricks posted a blunt message on social media shortly after the NFL’s initial statement May 30.
“.@NFL what actual steps are you taking to support the fight for justice and system reform?” he wrote. “Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you’re ACTUALLY doing.
“And we know what silence means.”
“I was super emotional, obviously frustrated,” Kendricks explained Wednesday. “These things have been happening, so it’s like for us to just ignore it, that was an issue for me. I felt like me calling the NFL out, me putting that pressure on the league and using my platform wasn’t just to apply pressure to them. It was to apply pressure to the people who are around me. It was to apply pressure to myself. We all need to understand these issues that are going on in our country. We all need to not only educate ourselves further on these issues, we need to get out in vote and be part of the electoral process. This was all for me to apply the pressure. It was all positive intentions. Obviously I made a decision, but I stand by that decision. I wouldn’t have done it if the Vikings didn’t have my back, and we hadn’t already been talking about these issues previously.”
Kendricks has not talked to Goodell yet but expects to have a conversation with the commissioner in the coming days.