Not to be considered as unresponsive to the concerns raised by the form of protest suggested to Colin Kaepernick by a military green beret, the National Football League released an update of where it was in the implementation of its social justice initiative. Here’s the press release:
Background: The NFL is committed to supporting efforts by players and clubs to improve our communities. The Social Justice Initiative, a joint endeavor of NFL players and team owners to address racial inequality and social injustice, represents the first joint venture of its kind among professional sports leagues and includes a significant financial commitment. This initiative has already produced significant results:
Creation of NFL Players and Team Owners Committee on Social Justice: The joint committee includes owners MICHAEL BIDWILL, ARTHUR BLANK, JIMMY HASLAM, SHAHID KHAN and STEPHEN ROSS. The players committee is comprised of New York Jets offensive tackle KELVIN BEACHUM, NFL Legend ANQUAN BOLDIN, New York Jets quarterback JOSH MCCOWN, Washington Redskins cornerback JOSH NORMAN and NFL Legend AENEAS WILLIAMS.
Focus on Three Key Pillars: We are keenly aware that social justice may mean different things to different people and organizations. The NFL’s support, along with that of NFL players, is dedicated to social justice programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a specific focus on three key areas:
Education and Economic Advancement
Police and Community Relations
Criminal Justice Reform
State Criminal Justice Reform Laws Passed: Because of the collective efforts of players and team owners, states are moving criminal justice reforms forward:
In Pennsylvania, the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES and PITTSBURGH STEELERS organizations joined Eagles players in pushing for clean slate legislation, which was ultimately signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf (D) on June 28.
In Massachusetts, DEVIN MCCOURTY, JONATHAN KRAFT and ROBERT KRAFT wrote an op-ed in support of juvenile justice reform earlier this year, followed by player lobbying in the state. Ultimately, several juvenile justice provisions were included in the bill signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker (R) in April.
In Ohio, the CLEVELAND BROWNS supported Senate Bill 66, which was signed into law by Governor John Kasich (R) on July 10.
In New York, after a series of Listen & Learn meetings in the Bronx, NEW YORK JETS executives and players met with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) on criminal justice reform and have penned an op-ed on key issues as well as a letter on bail reform.