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Players Asked NFL to Speak Up. They Got Their Wish

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell condemns racism, police brutality—but no mention of Kap
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2020 6:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – The ripple effects of the protests for George Floyd have made their way to the NFL. On Thursday, a roster of top players, including the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and the Texans' Deshaun Watson, made a short video imploring the league to speak up on racism and police brutality. On Friday, Commissioner Roger Goodell responded with his own video, repeating what the players said "nearly verbatim," ESPN notes. After sending condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others who may have suffered at the hands of police, Goodell stated: "We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter."

Goodell also acknowledged that the league wouldn't exist at all without its black players. CNN calls Goodell's statement "noteworthy," but it also says some of the reaction to it has had one very pointed criticism: The commissioner never once mentioned the name of Colin Kaepernick, the ex-49ers quarterback who jump-started kneeling during the national anthem nearly four years ago to protest police brutality and advocate for racial justice. "You cannot apologize to players without mentioning Colin Kaepernick," sports columnist Mike Freeman wrote on Twitter. Rapper and actor Ice Cube also stood up for the QB, tweeting a photo of Kaepernick and writing, "NFL: Do The Right Thing by this man." Kaepernick remains an NFL free agent. Yahoo Sports notes Goodell's statement comes during the same week that Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints took flak for insinuating those who kneel are unpatriotic. (Read more Roger Goodell stories.)

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