On May 30, a statement from the NFL commissioner expressed condolences to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, who had all been killed, and said the league would commit to solving systemic problems, he said. didn’t offer details.
“Without black players, there would be no National Football League,” said Goodell. “And the protests across the country are emblematic of centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, supporters and staff.”
But this is what has not been said that Internet users have grasped.
A name: Colin Kaepernick.
Goodell made no mention of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who led the first peaceful protest in 2016 against police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. At the end of the 2016-17 season, Kaepernick was dropped by the 49ers.
Unable to get a job since becoming a free agent, Kaepernick is still busy. In 2016, he and his partner Nessa Diab launched the Know Your Rights non-profit camp, which aims to educate and empower black and brown youth.
He has since become the poster child of the protest movement. His face is on shirts, almost always shown on his knees.
Just this week, as thousands of protesters across the United States and around the world protested police brutality after the death of George Floyd, many fell on their knees – as did Kaepernick.
“NFL: do the right thing for this man,” he wrote, attaching a photo of Kaepernick.
Even before Goodell’s admission that the NFL had made a mistake, there had been calls to re-hire Kaepernick.
“This will not solve the problem of black people and police violence,” he wrote. “But he will recognize the problem that Kaepernick has raised powerfully and perhaps show that with courage real progress can be made.”
On Friday, however, these calls became even stronger.
Goodell’s statement, while stronger, no longer cuts it, online feelings are gone.
CORRECTION: This patch has been updated to say that Mike Freeman is a former NFL columnist for the Bleacher Report.