The thoughts allegedly attributed to league commissioner Roger Goodell were a significantly diminished version of what was actually said by Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback blackballed by the NFL for delivering a far more effective message four years ago.
Instead, when shown incontrovertible proof of Kaepernick’s message—that law enforcement dehumanizes and kills Black people as well as other people of color—in the form of a video of officer Derek Chauvin suffocating Floyd with his knee for more than eight minutes, the best the NFL could do is say it now realizes “the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are now ready to address “systemic issues,” without ever mentioning the player who brought those issues to the attention of the league and much of the public.
The NFL’s shameful behavior exposes why it’s so absurd to treat the premature end of Kaepernick’s football career as a stale topic.
When public opinion overwhelmingly demanded civil protest because they realized Black people were angry, and righteously so, the league tried to pretend that it had always supported players using their platforms to bring attention to issues such as racial injustice and police brutality.