Racism: NFL admits it was "wrong not to listen to players"

Colin Kaepernick, October 23, 2016, before the start of the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Loren Elliott / Reuters

Text by: Nicolas Bamba Follow

Roger Goodell, the president of the powerful NFL, apologized for not listening to players who asked for more support in denouncing and condemning racism and discrimination after the death of George Floyd, an asphyxiated African American by a white policeman on May 25.


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As the United States still faces the aftermath of the death of George Floyd , an African-American asphyxiated by a white policeman who rested his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes in Minneapolis, Roger Goodell delivered a message strong on social networks, Friday June 5. The boss of the NFL, the national league of American football, apologized for not having listened earlier to the players who asked the powerful association to condemn racism and support the demonstrations.

NFL steps out of silence over problem beyond sport

“  We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of blacks. We in the NFL admit that we were wrong not to have listened to the players in the league earlier. We, the NFL, encourage everyone to speak out and protest peacefully. We, the NFL, believe that the lives of black people matter  , "says Roger Goodell.

We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv

  NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020

On Thursday June 4, several NFL players urged the league to get more involved. Already in 2016, Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, led a protest against police violence against blacks and against racism. A position that had divided opinion and cost him his career in the NFL, no franchise wanted to risk associating with such a committed player. The management of the Kaepernick case had already tarnished the image of Goodell and the NFL, which had fallen behind at the time. The text released Friday by the "commissioner" received wide approval among the players.

► Also read: Death of George Floyd: Colin Kaepernick's gesture at the heart of American ills

Trump against the grain

Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback, also apologized during the week. He first criticized those who kneeled on the ground during the American national anthem, castigating a “  lack of respect  ”, before backtracking: “  I made insensitive comments and I completely missed out on the problems to which we are currently facing.  Donald Trump criticized Brees' apology; fiercely opposed to the knee on the ground, the American president poses against the current of the turn taken by the NFL.

On social networks, Drew Brees also replied to Donald Trump: “  This is not an insult to the American flag. It never was. We can no longer use the flag to divert people from the real problems facing our black communities. (...) We, as a white community, must listen and learn from the pains and sufferings of our black communities.  "

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