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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ducks question about national anthem, isn’t concerned about social justice hurting ratings

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t worried that the league’s heavy social justice emphasis for the upcoming season will hurt television ratings, despite evidence that some fans have been turned off by the NBA’s demonstrations and protests, Goodell told CNBC.

The NFL has long dominated professional sports television ratings in the United States, but there was some belief in past years, particularly in 2017, that national anthem kneeling protests and the controversy surrounding them hurt the league’s ratings. Now that the NFL is embracing, instead of opposing, overt social justice displays, Goodell isn’t concerned.

“Our ratings have really been the envy of every entertainment and sports property,” Goodell told CNBC. “We have the broadest audience, we have the best partners in all of television and media. We feel that ratings always go up and down for a variety of reasons.”

When asked about the issue of national anthem protests, which upset many football fans who believe those demonstrations are disrespectful to the country, Goodell deflected.

“I wonder if you would agree that your own stance as it pertains to social justice has evolved since Kaepernick first took that knee. Certainly your recent interviews suggest that,” CNBC host Carl Quintanilla said to Goodell. “I think some of our viewers want to know whether players will be on the field for the anthem, and whether you as a league and the ownership are willing to withstand any pushback if in fact we do see players take knees.”

“I would tell you that all of us, hopefully, are evolving and learning—we should be—and we all should realize that we have to do more,” Goodell responded. “I’m proud of what our league has done. I said it several months ago that we should’ve listened to our players earlier and been able to understand the things that were going on in our communities. We’re seeing that play out on television sets across the country. They have been happening in our communities for years—decades—and we have to end it.”

Goodell has fully embraced social justice activism by players in recent months, especially since the death of George Floyd in May. He said he was wrong for not listening to and understanding what players were protesting in previous years, and now the league is actively participating in social justice activism. From ESPN:

The NFL is planning extensive content around social injustice for Week 1 of the regular season, sources told ESPN.

Among options discussed by the league and players union, according to a source involved: Players reading personalized poems and delivering first-person vignettes based on experience with social injustice. These stories could be incorporated into game-day broadcasts.

This is in addition to recognizing victims of police brutality on the backs of helmets and playing or performing what’s known as the Black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” before the season-opening games, as ESPN senior NFL writer Jason Reid reported in July.

(H/T The Daily Wire)

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Roger Goodell regrets not listening to Kaepernick more, says anthem kneelers are not unpatriotic

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he regrets not having more dialogue with former quarterback Colin Kaepernick about social justice issues and said he now understands that players who kneel during the national anthem aren’t being unpatriotic, ESPN reported.

What did he say?

“These are not people who are unpatriotic,” Goodell told ESPN’s Emmanuel Acho on the video series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.” “They’re not disloyal. They’re not against our military. In fact, many of those guys were in the military, and they’re a military family. And what they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. And that misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”

Acho asked Goodell what he might say in a public apology to Kaepernick, and Goodell cited regret that he was not able to have more conversations with the player who started the social justice protest of kneeling during the national anthem. Goodell said the league should have listened more and really understood what Kaepernick and other players were protesting.

“That’s where we should have listened sooner,” Goodell said. “And that’s where we should have been in there with them, understanding and figuring out what we can do as the NFL.”

What is Kaepernick up to?

Kaepernick has spent the last several years as a high-profile social justice activist. His experience, which many characterize as having been blackballed from the NFL for his protests, has led to a lucrative book deal and several television and documentary opportunities.

The former quarterback stands as an influential voice and symbol in social justice circles, and his statement in the days following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has proven to be fitting for the unrest that has occurred since.

“When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction,” Kaepernick wrote in a May 28 tweet that is pinned to the top of his profile. “The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back!”

There have been protests and riots across the United States almost every night for the past three months, and the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday has sparked new riots in that city the past two nights.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants Colin Kaepernick to ‘guide’ the league on social justice

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that he hopes former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will help “guide” the league on issues pertaining to social justice.

The commissioner also said during the interview with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg that he would “support” and “encourage” a team signing the controversial signal caller to its roster.

Kaepernick has not played in the league since 2016 when he was released by the 49ers following the season after losing his starting job to Blaine Gabbert. During that same season, he ignited controversy by kneeling during the national anthem at the start of games to protest racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.

“Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s going to take a team to make that decision,” Goodell said. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.

“If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities,” Goodell continued. “We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody’s welcome at that table and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues that have been around for a long time.”


Roger Goodell encourages NFL teams to sign Colin Kaepernick | SportsCenter

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Goodell appears to be toeing the line as favorability toward Kaepernick’s kneeling movement has jumped significantly since the death of George Floyd, who died after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

A majority of Americans, 52%, now believe it is OK for NFL players to protest by kneeling during the anthem — up by nearly double since Kaepernick’s time in the league.

As protests and riots erupted across the country over Floyd’s death and Kaepernick’s kneeling movement gained support, Goodell looked to make amends with the black community.

Earlier this month, Goodell released a video apologizing for the NFL’s failure to listen to players regarding racial inequality.

“We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter,” Goodell said in the video. “I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”

However, according to ESPN, after the video was released, the commissioner was slammed for not mentioning Kaepernick by name.

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‘Give Colin Kaepernick a job back,’ Al Sharpton orders NFL chief during George Floyd’s funeral

Rev. Al Sharpton used his platform at George Floyd’s funeral Tuesday to scold NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying his apology on behalf of the league was insufficient and then ordering Goodell to “give Colin Kaepernick a job back.”

What are the details?

Speaking during a service held for Floyd in his hometown of Houston, Sharpton said, “The head of the NFL (Roger Goodell) said, ‘Yeah, maybe we was wrong. Football players, maybe they did have the right to peacefully protest,'” MassLive reported.

“Well, don’t apologize,” Sharpton continued. “Give Colin Kaepernick a job back. Don’t come with some empty apology. Take a man’s livelihood. Strip a man down of his talents. And four years later, when the whole world is marching, all of a sudden you go and do a FaceTime, talk about you sorry. Minimizing the value of our lives.”

Sharpton added, “You sorry? Then repay the damage you did to the career you stood down, ’cause when Colin took a knee, he took it for the families in this building. And we don’t want an apology. We want him repaired.”

Sharpton’s remarks were met with loud applause from the audience.

After two weeks of protests, riots, and looting in cities across the U.S. over the May 25 death of Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, kneeling and honoring the Black Lives Matter movement has become a popular practice by demonstrators — including many politicians.

What’s the history?

In 2016, Kaepernick — then quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers — sparked a firestorm when he began taking a knee while the national anthem was played during games in protest over the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of law enforcement. The league pushed back against the protests at the time, amid criticism that the demonstrations were disrespectful to the U.S. and the flag.

Kaepernick was released by the 49ers, but found fame through his protests and signed lucrative endorsement deals with Nike despite no longer being a player. A special workout was held for Kaepernick last year in an effort to have an NFL team pick him up again, but he has not been re-signed.

What did the NFL players say?

Last week, a group of black NFL players released a video calling on the league to “condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people,” to “admit wrong in silencing [their] players from peacefully protesting,” and to declare they “believe black lives matter.”

Goodell responded with a video statement wherein he said, in part, “We, the National Football League, condemn racism, and the systemic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to the NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protests. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.”

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‘The View’ co-hosts laud Colin Kaepernick: He deserves back pay and an apology — oh, and a Nobel Peace Prize, too

Co-hosts on “The View” expressed their love and appreciation for NFL player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick on Tuesday.

What are the details?

At least two of the show’s co-hosts lauded Kaepernick’s activism efforts amid — and leading up to — the George Floyd protests.

Co-host Sunny Hostin said that Kaepernick — who has not played in the NFL since spearheading the national anthem protest movement in 2016 — should be rehired in the NFL, and should receive back pay along with a comprehensive apology.

She also insisted that Kaepernick, an outspoken racial equality advocate, should receive a Nobel Peace Prize.

“I think he’s not only owed an apology,” she said. “I think he’s owed his job. I think he’s owed back pay. I think he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. I think what is fascinating about it is when you listen to [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell’s mea culpa, he mentions everything. He says we are wrong. We should have listened. Athletes in the league are now allowed to take a knee. We support peaceful protests. He mentions everything except the name of the man who started this peaceful protest.”

Hostin added that Kaepernick’s gesture of taking a knee during the protests has become the symbol of the racial equality movement.

“Taking the knee has become the symbol of these protests. We see it just all over the country,” she said. “We see it actually internationally now. I think it’s shameful that people were allowed to co-opt that movement and make it about the flag and make it something it was never about. It really is just shameful. I’m sort of shocked that Roger Goodell never mentioned [Kaepernick’s] name.”

Co-host Joy Behar later added that she feels Kaepernick isn’t so dissimilar from boxing star Muhammad Ali, and also “gave up his livelihood for a principle.”

“Well, you know, Sunny just said Colin Kaepernick is really the hero of this and should be rewarded instead of thrown out of his job,” Behar said.

“I think that Roger Goodell and the NFL need to get behind history and not be on the wrong side of it,” Behar insisted. “I say that about a lot of people. Mitch McConnell and the rest of them, who are on the wrong side of history right now. They will pay the price in years to come.”

(H/T: The Daily Caller)

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NFL commissioner says league was wrong, now promotes peaceful protest by players

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement Friday saying the league was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier,” after players urged the organization to “admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting.”

Goodell’s statement came after nearly two weeks of nationwide protests over police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody, and after years of controversy over NFL players kneeling at games during the national anthem beginning with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

What are the details?

In a video statement posted to Twitter, Goodell said:

It has been a difficult time in our country. 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 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.

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. 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.

Goodell’s address came the day after a group of black NFL players released a video wherein they called out their league, saying, “This is what we, the players would like to hear you state: ‘We, the National Football League condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League believe black lives matter.”

Anything else?

Earlier in the week, New Orleans Saint quarterback Drew Brees issued an apology after he criticized the kneeling protests by saying he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”

In reaction, President Donald Trump tweeted, “I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high.”

He added, “We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”

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NFL considering giving teams much higher draft picks if they hire minorities as head coaches or general managers

The NFL is considering implementing new rules that would award teams who hire minorities as head coaches and general managers by giving those franchises higher draft picks, on some occasions, much higher picks.

NFL owners will virtually hold their annual May league meeting on May 19, and one of the topics will be minority hiring, especially when it comes to general managers and head coaches. In 2003, the NFL instituted the Rooney Rule, which is named after former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who was a former chairman of the league’s diversity committee. The rule requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for any head coach or senior football operations position.

Despite the Rooney Rule being in effect for nearly two decades, there are four non-white head coaches and two non-white general managers from the 32 franchises. “Two of the four African-American head coaches hired since 2017, were fired after one and two seasons, respectively,” according to the NFL. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport found that 70% of NFL players are black.

In an effort to hire more non-white coaches and GMs, the NFL will reward teams who hire minorities for those positions. NFL Media reporter Jim Trotter outlined how the new rules for incentivizing minority hiring could work:

If a team hires a minority head coach, that team, in the draft preceding the coach’s second season, would move up six spots from where it is slotted to pick in the third round. A team would jump 10 spots under the same scenario for hiring a person of color as its primary football executive, a position more commonly known as general manager.

If a team were to fill both positions with diverse candidates in the same year, that club could jump 16 spots — six for the coach, 10 for the GM — and potentially move from the top of the third round to the middle of the second round. Another incentive: a team’s fourth-round pick would climb five spots in the draft preceding the coach’s or GM’s third year if he is still with the team.

Another potential rule change that the National Football League is reportedly exploring is that any team which “hires a person of color as its quarterbacks coach would receive a compensatory pick at the end of the fourth round if it retains that employee beyond one season.” The NFL notes that there are currently “only two African-American QB coaches in Pep Hamilton of the Chargers and Marcus Brady of the Colts.”

The league is also looking into awarding a fifth-round compensatory pick to any team that loses a minority assistant who then becomes a coordinator for another team.

“If a minority assistant left to become a coordinator elsewhere, his former club would receive a fifth-round compensatory pick,” Trotter wrote of a potential rule change. “And if a person of color leaves to become a head coach or general manager, his previous team would receive a third-round compensatory pick.”

The NFL is considering expanding the Rooney Rule by doubling the number of minority candidates a team must interview for head coach vacancies. The league may also extend the Rooney Rule to include coordinator positions.

“I think where we are right now, is not where we want to be, not where we need to be,” Steelers owner Art Rooney II said in January. “We need to take a step back and look at what’s happening with our hiring processes. The first thing we’ll do as part of our diversity committee is really review this past season’s hiring cycle and make sure we understand what went on and talk to the people involved both on the owners’ side, management’s side as well as the people that were interviewed.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hinted that the league wanted to increase minority hiring. “Clearly we are not where we want to be on this level,” Goddell said right before Super Bowl LIV in Miami. “It’s clear we need to change. We have already begun discussing those changes, what stages we can take next to determine better outcomes.”

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NFL declares 2020 Draft will go on as scheduled — and Commissioner Goodell makes it clear that he will not tolerate dissent: ‘Grounds for disciplinary action’

With the spread of the coronavirus, professional sports leagues have postponed or canceled hundreds of games, races, matches, and other events. But the NFL will not let the COVID-19 pandemic keep them from holding the 2020 Draft, Sports Illustrated reported.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the decision Thursday night.

And for anyone connected to the league who might have concerns about holding such a major event when the country is social distancing and entire states are under stay-at-home orders, Goodell has a message: Shut up, or risk punishment.

What is the league doing?

In a memo to teams Thursday, Goodell declared that the NFL Draft set for April 23-25 will go on as scheduled.

A copy of the memo, tweeted out by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, said that, even though the global pandemic has shuttered pretty much the entire sports world, the NFL Management Council Executive Committee was “unanimous and unequivocal that the Draft should go forward as scheduled.”

Goodell said he received “widespread support” for the decision after he “personally discussed the matter with many other owners, clubs executives and coaches.” He continued:

Everyone recognizes that public health conditions are highly uncertain and there is no assurance that we can select a different date and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favorable than they are today. I also believe that the Draft can serve a very positive purpose for our clubs, our fans, and the country at large, and many of you have agreed.

The commissioner did say that the draft will be “conducted in a different way.” The league has canceled all public events and won’t be bringing prospects to the draft, he added. Also, the draft was originally going to be held in Las Vegas, but now it will happen in a studio setting, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Rough week for clubs

The league put a stop to all NFL-related physicals Monday, and said that free agents and draft prospects won’t be checked out until the coronavirus crisis is over, the NFL Network reported.

And on Tuesday, Goodell announced that all team facilities are to remain closed, Schefter reported.

The move has teams concerned. General managers are worried that the combination of canceled offseason activities and closed facilities means “there won’t be enough time for player physicals, gathering psychological testing, getting further verified information about the players and some teams having to conduct the draft from home,” Schefter said.

Though Goodell indicated in Thursday’s memo that it will put some clubs at a disadvantage, he promised that the NFL would make sure everything would be “competitively fair to all clubs.” But he didn’t elaborate how the league would actually ensure that:

Our staff is certainly mindful of the operational issues this presents, and our top priority is putting in place procedures that allow all clubs to operate on a level playing field so that the Draft is conducted in a way that is competitively fair to all clubs. All clubs should now be doing the necessary planning to conduct Draft operations in a location outside of your facility, with a limited number of people present, and with sufficient technology resources to allow you to communicate internally, with other clubs, and with Draft headquarters.

What was Goodell’s threat?

Goodell, who has often been labeled a “dictator” for how he handles league business, concluded Thursday’s memo with a very stern warning: We can punish you if you even talk about this stuff.

“The CEC was also clear, and I share the Committee’s view,” Goodell wrote, “that public discussion of issues relating to the Draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action.”

The commissioner’s threat Thursday came a day after New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis lamented to NBC Sport’s “Peter King Podcast” about the status of the draft. Loomis told host Peter King:

I’d be personally in favor of delaying the draft, so that we can get some of the work done that our scouts and our personnel people ordinarily do. And then just the logistics of trying to conduct the draft, with not having access to your draft rooms and your offices, creates a lot of logistic problems.

This is not a fantasy draft that you conduct out there with just a list of things on a piece of paper. There’s a lot of work that goes into it to prepare, and there’s a lot of work that is done during the draft. Listen, it’ll be very, very difficult to conduct that and do it in a way that you’re doing justice to the process.

No word on whether Goodell has had a follow-up conversation with Loomis.

Sport Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina was none too happy with Goodell’s attempt to silence those who would dare question his move.

Traina wrote Friday that the NFL has been “totally tone deaf and classless” for how it has acted during the pandemic, adding:

Yes, Dictator Goodell is ready to take action against anyone from the league who questions the NFL’s decision to go ahead with the draft on April 23.

As of this writing, more than 80,000 people in the U.S. have tested positive for coronavirus.

A record 3.3 million people filed for unemployment last week because of lost jobs due to the coronavirus.

But for the NFL, it’s business as usual. And business as usual for the NFL is money, money and more money.

Nobody knows what this country will look like on April 23. Nobody knows if people will be back to work. Nobody knows if we will have flattened the curve. But if you work for the NFL, don’t you dare mention that. Put a smile on your face and talk about how excited you are to see Joe Burrow get drafted by the Bengals!

No word on how the reporters at the NFL Network — which is owned by the NFL — are supposed to cover this.

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