News and Commentary

Roger Goodell: NFL To ‘Stand Behind’ Players On Activism

“All of us, hopefully, are evolving and learning—we should be.”
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looks on before Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

As the NBA faces a drop in ratings amid the woke signaling during the games, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league will be supporting players planning to protest this upcoming season.

Speaking with CNBC, Goodell said that the NFL platform will be a platform to highlight issues embroiling America, emphasizing that he and others in charge of the league have been “evolving” throughout the past few months.

“I would tell you that all of us, hopefully, are evolving and learning—we should be—and we all should realize that we have to do more,” he said. “I’m proud of what our league has done. I said it several months ago that we should’ve listened to our players earlier and been able to understand the things that were going on in our communities. We’re seeing that play out on television sets across the country. They have been happening in our communities for years—decades—and we have to end it.”

“Our clubs over the last couple years, and our players, have worked really closely together to try and make that difference in the community, to make the change, [to] make sure that the work we’re doing is actually leading to change,” he added. “And that’s the important thing for our players.”

Goodell suggested that the frustration and the sadness many people feel stems from the fact that the NFL has not done enough to be a force for change.

“When you see the frustration, the sadness, the anger—we all feel that because we’re not reaching the change that we all want,” he said. “So that’s what our commitment is. We’ve been talking with our players association over the last several months. I expect that we’ll have some announcements further on that level also … more steps we’re going to take. Because we all have to do more.”

When pressed on whether or not the NFL will suffer bad ratings and if the league is prepared to deal with that fallout, Goodell seemed to indicate that he doesn’t think viewership will be a problem.

“Our ratings have really been the envy of every entertainment and sports property. We have the broadest audience; we have the best partners in all of television and media. We feel that ratings always go up and down for a variety of reasons,” he said.

“We’re supporting our players, we recognize the issues … going on in our communities. That’s a platform that we want to use to make change, and we’re going to do that. We’re going to stand behind our players,” he concluded.

At the height of the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this summer, Goodell issued an apology for “not listening” to his players.

“It has been a difficult time for our country, in particular black people in our country,” Goodell said. “First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality.”

“We, the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” he continued. “We, the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League believe black lives matter.”

RELATED: NFL’s Goodell: ‘We Were Wrong For Not Listening,’ ‘Black Lives Matter’

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