NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has regrets about not listening to NFL players who kneeled in protest.
Goodell issued a statement of apology for neglecting players who took a knee during the national anthem as a stance against police brutality and racism in recent years. In light of the peaceful protests and civil unrest sparked by the recent death of George Floyd and several other Black civilians in recent months, Goodell addressed his feelings on the matter via Instagram on Friday (June 5).
Without naming Colin Kapernick, who infamously led the #TakeAKnee movement in 2016, the commissioner admitted the league’s response to NFL players kneeling for the cause was not appropriate.
"It has been a difficult time for our country," Goodell starts in the clip. "In particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality."
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and systematic oppression of black people," he continued, before confessing, “We were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."
Kapernick sparked the kneeling movement when he refused to stand during the national anthem before NFL games as a statement against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States. The movement didn’t come without consequences, though. The San Francisco 49ers athlete lost — and eventually won back — his starting job on the team for over the next three seasons.
"We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter,” Goodell went on. "I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League, and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff."
He concluded: "We are listening, I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward a better and more united NFL family.”
Photo: Getty Images