Roger Goodell sends memo reiterating league’s commitment to fight for social justice

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Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to league employees at offices in New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles on Monday, reiterating the NFL’s commitment to supporting social justice efforts.

The email came as the jury in former police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial began deliberations in the death of George Floyd.

“We have all been witnessing an unspeakable amount of violence across the country,” the memo, obtained by PFT, reads. “Our minds are also focused on the Derek Chauvin trial which is reaching its conclusion.

“We wanted to make sure you are aware of resources the league offers to employees through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The trauma, emotion and anger that follows violence is difficult to bear. Please know that the NFL stands committed to using our platform to foster these conversations and to put in the work necessary to fight for social justice and to prevent these situations from happening over and over again.

“NFL players are leading this work, and the league and clubs will continue to join them in helping to establish trust between communities of color and law enforcement and prioritizing new approaches to training, de-escalation and community engagement with police officers. As many of you know, the NFL and Players Coalition are supporting a number of organizations that are working tirelessly and specifically in this area: The Center for Policing Equity (CPE), The Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), Metro Family Services, and The Vera Institute of Justice. These organizations have gone to great lengths to reimagining what policing in America looks like and that work is sparking change across the country.

“With NFL support, these partners have done extensive work in this area including the following:

• The Center for Policing Equity helped the Berkeley, California police department become the first in the country to shift most of their traffic enforcement from police to unarmed transportation workers. This move was based on CPE’s analysis of police department data on vehicle stops that found Black drivers 6.5 times more likely to be stopped than white drivers, searched at a rate four times higher and twice as likely to be arrested.

• Just last week, The Council on Criminal Justice and its Task Force on Policing released a new set of research-based reports and called for the U.S. Department of Justice to dramatically expand its capacity to investigate police misconduct and propose and enforce reforms. This follows their release of recommendations on chokehold bans, duty-to-intervene policies, and no-knock warrants in January and efforts to highlight widespread deficiencies in police training in March.

• Since the launch of Metro Family Services’ Community Training Academy in conjunction with the city’s police department, MFS has trained 23 percent of police districts in Chicago to mediate street violence and reconstruct trust between communities and law enforcement through a hyper-local approach.

• The Vera Institute of Justice’s work to limit the expansion of jails in Kansas resulted in the County Commission unanimously voting to overturn its expansion plan, while training 60 community leaders and educating local business owners on the issue. In addition, they released a report providing in depth guidance for communities developing alternatives to police-led responses to behavioral health crisis and improving outcomes for people with mental illness.

“Our commitment to the pillars of our social justice efforts are unwavering and our work continues together – with our partners, the clubs and players throughout the NFL.”