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Vikings' Eric Kendricks: NFL's Statement on Racial Injustice 'Said Nothing'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 23: Eric Kendricks #54 of the Minnesota Vikings takes the field during player introductions before the game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 23, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings star Eric Kendricks wants to hear more from the NFL after Roger Goodell issued a statement referencing the killing of George Floyd and ongoing protests across the country.

The league commissioner offered the NFL's "deepest condolences" to Floyd's family and others who were victims of police brutality. Goodell added he and league "recognize the power of our platform" and "embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

NFL @NFL

https://t.co/rRUOPpWSpE

The first-team All-Pro linebacker responded Tuesday by saying the statement "said nothing":

Eric Kendricks @EricKendricks54

.@NFL what actual steps are you taking to support the fight for justice and system reform? Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you’re ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means. https://t.co/EOqzDjW1an

Eric Kendricks @EricKendricks54

Our team doesn’t just want to donate — we want to work with local organizations and get out there to help facilitate change. DM me or comment if you have any suggestions or info.

Eric Kendricks @EricKendricks54

You can’t bring in people to teach us how we should interact with police but not work towards changing the behavior of the police themselves. Silence will not make this go away. @NFL #WeWantAnswers #BlackLivesMatter

Four Minneapolis police officers reported to an alleged forgery in progress May 25. They saw Floyd, who matched a description of the suspect, sitting in his car and removed him from the vehicle. A video of the encounter showed one officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes despite Floyd indicating he was struggling to breathe.

Floyd died at a local hospital, and prosecutors charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting against police brutality and systemic racism in 2016, first by sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem. Speaking with NFL Network's Steve Wyche, Kaepernick said he "[was] not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers after the 2016 season, with general manager John Lynch confirming the team planned to release him that offseason.

The 32-year-old has yet to sign another contract, with many believing NFL owners have conspired to keep him out of the league as a response to his social activism.

Kaepernick filed a grievance against owners over the alleged collusion in October 2017. Former teammate Eric Reid, who participated in the protests, filed his own grievance in May 2018.

In February 2019, they agreed to settle their claims with the NFL.

Because of Kaepernick's history, some have found the shows of solidarity by NFL teams at odds with how they operated behind the scenes.

Eric Reid @E_Reid35

I think you meant Blackball Tuesday...I digress https://t.co/S0r7IHd7DZ

The NFL launched a social justice initiative in December 2017 in which representatives from the league would work with law enforcement officers and community organizers "to identify meaningful ways to strengthen local communities and the greater society."

Jay-Z and his entertainment company, Roc Nation, signed on with the league in August as well "to enhance the NFL's live game experiences and to amplify the league's social justice efforts."

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