NFL Players Who Protested National Anthem Want League to Endorse Social Activism Month

What memo?

  • A 10-page memo penned by three NFL players and one former player asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to endorse the month of November as a social activism awareness month to go along with the memo writers’ campaign for racial equality and criminal justice reform, Yahoo Sports reported.
  • The August memo said the social activism awareness month should be handled like other awareness months the league endorses, such as attention to breast cancer and the military, the outlet said.
  • The memo writers also want the league to invest money, education and political involvement, Yahoo Sports noted.
  • Other areas of attention include police accountability and transparency, bail reform, and the criminalization of poverty, the outlet noted.

Who wrote the memo?

  • Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Torrey Smith, along with former Buffalo Bills receiver Anquan Boldin, the outlet said.
  • Bennett recently accused Las Vegas police of brutality and racial profiling over an August incident in which the defensive end said he was unlawfully detained after attending the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. Police denied Bennett’s accusations.
  • Bennett and Jenkins have participated in national anthem protests, Yahoo Sports said, adding that all four memo writers have been outspoken regarding social issues.

How did the NFL respond?

  • A league spokesperson declined to comment on the memo or Goodell’s communication with specific NFL players, the outlet said.
  • The memo writers either didn’t return requests for comment or declined to speak about it, citing an agreement to keep direct communications with Goodell private, Yahoo Sports added.
  • Sources familiar with the letter said it was written after Goodell spoke with players in August — including some who’ve participated in national anthem protests — about moving player activism into a progressive direction, the outlet said.

This writer’s perspective

The NFL can endorse causes such as fighting breast cancer — and devote an entire month to raising awareness about it — with no flak from the public because virtually no one disagrees with fighting breast cancer.

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