NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a video Friday in which he addressed the death of George Floyd, systemic racism, and peaceful protest not only nationwide, but in his league.
This is a response to the video the NFL players released Thursday, demanding the league listen to its players and support their efforts in peacefully protesting racism and inequality towards the African American community.
Star players like Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Deshaun Watson, Jamal Adams, Stephon Gilmore, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, and more were involved in the player-led video demanding the NFL take more action against racism while exercising their right to peacefully protest.
Safety Tyrann Mathieu asked in the video "How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players?" The players in the video demanded that the NFL speak out against the systematic oppression of black people and admit the NFL was wrong in silencing their players from peacefully protesting. All players involved posted the video to their social media pages, primarily Twitter. Watch the video in full below.
The longtime commissioner posted a video on the NFL's social media pages. "It has been a difficult time in our country. In particular, black people in our country," said Goodell. He continued by expressing his condolences to all black people who were victims of racism and police brutality, but pointed out the most recent victims like Ahmuad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
"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 players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We the National Football League, believe black lives matter," said Goodell in the video message. These statements were a direct response to the player's video, in which the players asked the NFL to say such things.
The commissioner also added that he "personally protests with you [the players] and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country." Goodell also admitted that without black players, there would be no NFL. He said that he would reach out to the players that have spoken up in order to unite the NFL. Watch the complete statement from the commissioner below.
The NFL has had their league in the headlines recently since the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Besides the video by the players and the response from the league's commissioner, NFL star quarterback Drew Brees made comments about protest during the national anthem which received heavy backlash. Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio made a statement during a video conference where he said he "doesn't see racism at all in the NFL." Both individuals have come out and apologized for their remarks.
The reaction to the NFL commissioner's statement has been minimal, but one player in the player-led video seemed to approve of Goodell's comments. New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas retweeted the video statement and commented "Well said Roger," with a black fist emoji. Given the video was released Friday evening, it is expected that more reactions from players and fans are incoming.