activism by August Prum September 21, 2017
A memo endorsed by a group of NFL players sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Vice President of NFL operations Troy Vincent called for the higher ups at the NFL to support social activism amongst the players.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, recently retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, and Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett are asking for the NFL’s help in their efforts to address issues ranging from police brutality to criminal justice reform to criminalization of poverty.
The memo, obtained by Yahoo Sports, is divided into three parts; a summary of total player activism in the NFL, a tangible call to action calling for the league’s support of social and racial justice, and an appeal for the NFL to make November an official month “of Unity for individual teams to engage and impact the community in their market.”
A section of the memo reads,
“To be clear, we are asking for your support. We appreciate your acknowledgment on the call regarding the clear distinction between support and permission. For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community. There are a variety of ways for you to get involved. Similar to the model we have in place for players to get involved, there are three tiers of engagement based on your comfort level.”
There are numerous social justice initiatives outlined in the memo and this goes to illustrate the lengths that these players are going to enact change for the better in our country.
These are not just rich athletes protesting the national anthem for publicity, they have researched the issues within the criminal justice system and are working with legal experts to make at-risk communities safer.
So far Goodell and his office have yet to respond to the memo, but it will be fascinating to see how the NFL deals with this request to join the players in their fight for social equality. They have to choose between supporting their players and alienating a large (ignorant and racist) swath of their fanbase. This issue ain’t going away.