LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shared a message Friday on behalf of the league condemning racism and apologizing for not listening to players earlier.
In a video posted to Twitter, Goodell said, "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."
"It has been a difficult time for our country, in particular, for 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," he continued.
"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," he said.
In 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to take a stand against police brutality and racial injustice.
Politicians, team owners and fellow players criticized him, fans burned his jersey, and he was booed even at home. Four years later, his protest is widely viewed as prescient. Global opinion has shifted so much that more people are now vilifying those who attack Kaepernick or misrepresent his stance.
The NFL and its teams have voiced their support for equality and called for change. In a video released Thursday night, 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and several of his peers asked the league to "condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people" and "admit wrong in silencing players from peacefully protesting."
Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since 2016.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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