Is this a real change?
Contrary to the opinion of many National Football League fans, the commissioner Roger Goodell is no fool. The NFL, like the International Olympic Committee and other sports leagues and organizations, is watching the streets and seeing protests in the United States and globally condemning police brutality. That was Colin Kaepernick’s protest in 2016 and the protest that got him blackballed from the NFL. The NFL will never admit that it blackballed Kaepernick although the New York Giants co-owner John Mara came as close as you can come to saying it in 2017. Mara feared NFL fans backlash if he hired Kaepernick. In 2018, NFL owners told players that they must stand for the playing of the American national anthem or remain in the locker room and come out when the song is done. The NFL needs younger people to follow the product and sees future money in American streets. The NFL has also watched as CEOs of major non-sports businesses support the protests.
Goodell’s statement is remarkable in that the NFL never admits to being wrong. “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 NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.” The IOC earlier this year tried to impose a gag order on Olympic athletes expressing opinions. The IOC has done an about face after seeing which way the wind is blowing and has decided protests are okay with them. The IOC claimed it fully respects the protests and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee wants to hear from athletes. The USOPC ended the probation of two athletes imposed in 2019 for podium protests. The streets have gotten sports attention.