The NFL - in a decision that will likely be remembered as a major victory for the anti-police brutality protest movement inspired by the horrific death of George Floyd - has just announced that it was wrong to not wholeheartedly support the league's black players who participated in the kneeling protests started by Colin Kaepernick.
It seems like ancient history now, but the culture war over Kaepernick's decision, which infuriated conservatives and sparked a massive backlash among many NFL fans, while activists castigated the league for appearing to blackball Kaepernick, who hasn't played since he left the 49ers, despite remaining a competitive athlete on the field.
In a video statement released just minutes ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league "is listening" to protesters and their message. Goodell apologized, saying the league was "wrong", for not supporting athletes who kneeled during the national anthem during a protest movement a couple of years back. Goodell added that "I personally am with you, and want to be part of the change in this country," and added that "the NFL would be nothing" without black players. He added that he would be reaching out to black players for feedback on "how we can improve and go forward for a better, more united NFL family."
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
The decision will put pressure on other sports leagues, particularly the NBA and its commissioner, Adam Silver, to speak out and offer similar assurances.
But after the latest images of police brutality during the protests surfaced on Friday, will this be enough to quiet the unrest that's expected to spring back into gear during rallies planned for tomorrow in Washington DC and across the US.