Roger Goodell Shares Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter: 'We Were Wrong for Not Listening to NFL Players'

The video message comes just a day after NFL players called on the league to publicly 'condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people.'

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Image via Getty/Scott Winters

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The NFL heard players' calls.

On Friday, league commissioner Roger Goodell released a video statement on behalf of the NFL in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"It has been a difficult time for our country, in particular black people in our country," Goodell began. "First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality," Goodell said. "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."

He continued: "I personally protest with you and want to be a 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. 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 for a better and 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

— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020

The video comes just a day after star NFL athletes like Odell Beckham Jr., Ezekiel Elliott, DeAndre Hopkins, and Patrick Mahomes pressured the league to publicly "condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people ... admit wrong in silencing [its] players for peacefully protesting," and state, "we believe black lives matter."

Goodell's statement was met with mixed reactions. While some praised the commissioner and the NFL for the move, others dismissed it as a PR stunt. A number of Twitter users then demanded that the league exclusively apologize to former 49er Colin Kaepernick and put him back in the field. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season when he began conducting on-field protests against racial injustice and police brutality. 

You can read some of the reactions to Goodell's video below.

The only reason you actually made this speech:

— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) June 5, 2020

Youre directly involved in what's happening right now for taking over 3 years to bother listening. You blackballed the man who tried to start the conversation. You're a joke.

— Your Hardcore Dad (@dansbadtweets) June 5, 2020

Miss me with this crap. Literally every social/conduct policy the NFL has adopted in the last decade has been anti-player and meant to crack down on freedom of expression. Almost all team owners are white Trump donors/supporters. We know who you are.

— Paul Dawkins (@Paul__Dawkins) June 5, 2020

3 years late

— Ron 🤘🏽(All my teams lost) (@ronoIogy) June 5, 2020

WE the BLACK PEOPLE, are wondering why y’all didn’t have this energy when Kap was peaceful protesting!! So let Kap back in the league or WE don’t believe you

— (Raquel) A’Zaire 👼🏾 KB-24 (@SOULbeautifulme) June 5, 2020
Apologize to Kaepernick and give him his career back. Until then, this is lip service.

Huh? Y’all said some?

— Martin D’Luther King (@deseanskii) June 5, 2020

Glad you said this.

It was well said, and well overdue.

I'm still not coming back.

I can't. I'm sorry.

Apology accepted, but trust has to be earned. And it hasn't been earned back yet.

— Malcolm P. Johnson (@admiralmpj) June 5, 2020
Admit you blackballed Kaepernick. Don't ever do anything like that again. Encourage teams to give him legit tryouts. If he can play at the level, fine. He can't be any worse than certain teams' backups.
Say his name.
This didn’t go far enough.
THIS is what systemic racism is.
The NFL making a statement to make themselves “look better”.
No. They need to DO BETTER.
The NFL let politics and a president make decisions for them out of FEAR.
Own it.
Say his name.
Grateful for this statement. To admit you were wrong is a great first step. Hiring @Kaepernick7 is the next right step. He will be the leader you need to show you the way forward. Until our flag represents ALL Americans we all need to take a knee. #NoJusticeNoPeace

Admit that you conspired to collude and interfere with the contractual rights of @Kaepernick7 and exerted pressure on teams to prevent him from obtaining employment, in retaliation for his exercise of free speech, protesting systemic racial discrimination by police officers.

— 🦸🏽‍♂️Tommy  (@ResistMonsters) June 5, 2020

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