After A Season Of #TakeTheKnee Protests, The NFL Agrees To Financially Support Its Players' Activism
The agreement is tentative and doesn't directly address the ongoing NFL protests, however.
November 30, 2017 at 7:06 pm
The relationship between the NFL, it players and the football organization's sponsors has been pretty rocky this season, due to disputes over players protesting during the national anthem.
The protests were begun by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality and racial discrimination. As you likely know, Kaepernick is currently without a football job, which has led to an investigation as to whether or not he is the victim of a conspiracy.
Amid declining viewership numbers, as well as pressure from team owners and league sponsors, the NFL met with players this week, and came away with an agreement that some hope will help to end the protests, the Chicago Tribune reports.
League officials met with players, including players from the Players Coalition led by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin, and at meetings' end offered to try to help focus on the root cause of the protests.
The NFL plans to do this by donating between $90 and $100 million to charities and social causes of players' choosing, with a focus on organizations that serve the black community. The money will be given out starting once the agreement becomes final through 2023.
However, there are a few complications.
First, the donation might not happen at all. It is subject to approval from team owners. The owners will meet in Texas in December, but could push the vote on the issue back to next March, when the annual league meeting will be held.
Second, it isn't clear that the NFL's donation has the support of all of the league's protesting players. San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (one of the first players to join in Kaep's protest last year) and Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas left the Player's Coalition, citing differences of opinion about the negotiations with the league as the reason for the schism.
Third is the fact that some high level member of the NFL are hoping that the donation will end the protests. Earlier this year, the NFL's commissioner and the owners said they want all of the players to stand for the anthem. It isn't clear if the expectation that players stand was presented as part of the deal that led to the donation. There are football games tonight and this weekend, however, so it will soon become clear whether or not players still plan to take a knee.
According to the Tribune, however, some owners have begun to discuss requiring players to stay in the locker room during the anthem next season, eliminating their employees' platform for dissent.