NFL Announces Joint Owner, Player Committee Focused on Social Justice Issues

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2018

An NFL logo is displayed at the opening of
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The NFL announced the formation of a joint owner-player committee focused on social justice Tuesday, according to Daniel Kaplan of the SportsBusiness Journal.

Kaplan added the league has also launched a digital ad campaign that will highlight social justice work players have done.

Per ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, the initiative is called Let's Listen Together, and it came into existence after months of conversations between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a group of current and former players headed by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Boldin discussed the project's importance:

"The collaboration between the NFL and its players should be celebrated, as it's the first professional league or entity that has taken the concerns of its players and put resources behind it. Our country has some real issues when it comes to social and racial equality that must be addressed. The only way these issues will get solved is to fight together."

In November, ESPN.com's Jim Trotter and Jason Reid reported the NFL planned to set aside $89 million over a seven-year period in an effort to raise awareness regarding social issues.

On Tuesday, Goodell said the following about the first initiative born from that agreement:

"We are pleased to have developed a new initiative that focuses on creating meaningful solutions to improve our communities. In developing this plan, we have taken the lead from our players and are honored to join them in this work. Their work has deepened our understanding of the unique platform we have to help advance progress in a profound and unifying way."

Trotter and Reid reported in November that the league hopes the social justice initiative will help stem protesting during the playing of the national anthem.

The practice began during the 2016 preseason when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting and then kneeling during the anthem to protest social injustice in the United States.

Although protesting waned over the course of the 2017 season after reaching a high-water mark in Week 3 due to comments from President Donald Trump, several players continue to protest on a weekly basis.

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