The NFL pledged $250 million over 10 years to a fund to help with social and racial justice initiatives involving systemic racism, NFL Media reported Thursday.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the work Colin and other players have led off,” an anonymous source told NFL.com columnist Judy Battista. “That is a key point here. We listened to our players. We needed to listen more, we needed to move faster. We heard them and launched a social justice platform because of what Colin was protesting about. The players have always been an essential piece of this effort and this campaign. It would be awesome to engage Colin on some of the work we are doing. He’s doing real impactful work. Getting him in some way would be amazing for us. There’s a lot of work to do to get to that point. We’re certainly open and willing to do that.”
According to ProFootballTalk, the $250 million over 10 years — $25 million per season — breaks down to $781,250 per team per year.
Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since the end of the 2016 season, and he, along with former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid, filed a grievance against the league that said owners colluded against him to keep him off a team.
Earlier this week, former Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said the NFL owes Kaepernick an apology for its actions to hold real meaning.
Kaepernick’s peaceful demonstration, which he adjusted from sitting to kneeling after speaking to former Green Beret Nate Boyer, drew the ire of some team owners and politicians, including President Donald Trump.
In 2020, though, it appears the players will have more support from the NFL in their actions.
Read more: Malcolm Jenkins: Colin Kaepernick deserves apology from NFL
NFL players, plus many athletes from other sports, have used their platforms to condemn police brutality and racial injustice in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest, sparking nationwide protests.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and later arrested and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers at the scene were fired and later charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
The NFL, though, was quiet in the immediate aftermath, aside from some generic statements that did not explicitly mention police brutality or racial injustice, two issues that Kaepernick began protesting during the 2016 NFL season by kneeling during the national anthem.
Read more: Eagles’ Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Rodney McLeod and more join support of bill to end qualified immunity for police
A week ago, a group of prominent NFL players, including MVP Patrick Mahomes and former Penn State star Saquon Barkley, released a video urging NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to voice support for players in their work against racism and social injustices.
Goodell obliged with a video that carefully echoed the players’ words, and he vocalized his support for player protests.
And now, the NFL is putting some more money behind that.
According to NFL Media, the NFL had already “donated $44 million to its social justice programs. That money had funded 20 national social justice grant partners and made matching contributions to 350 local grassroots organizations identified by players and former players. Now, that fund will balloon to $250 million in all, with the league working with players to identify and work with programs that address criminal justice reform, police reform and economic and educational advancement for African Americans.”
Daniel Gallen covers the Philadelphia Eagles for PennLive. He can be reached at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Follow PennLive’s Philadelphia Eagles coverage on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
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