Players around the NFL have stepped up to provide a voice in the aftermath of the senseless murder of George Floyd by a now-former Minneapolis police officer on Tuesday.
While a certain owner has spoken up, the NFL remained quiet until Saturday afternoon. Commissioner Roger Goodell released a lengthy statement, including condolences to the families that have lost loved ones amid the growing racial division in the United States.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions,” Goodell wrote, via the official NFL website.
Goodell continued by addressing the elephant in the room following Floyd’s murder and on the heels of protests that have turned violent.
“As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action,” the embattled commissioner said. “We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
The NFL is indeed in a unique position in that it’s the most-popular sports league in North America. The murder of Floyd took place in one of the major cities that hosts an NFL team and has brought the Colin Kaepernick-led national anthem protests back to the forefront.
This unique position also includes the view of countless sports fans that Kaepernick himself was indeed blackballed by the league after initiating said national anthem protests back in 2016.
These words are one thing. Actions speak louder. It will be interesting to see how Goodell and the NFL step up during these most difficult of times.