What Roger Goodell Should Have Said

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Roger Goodell’s video statement on Friday afternoon — where he admits the league was wrong for not listening to players who peacefully protested to raise awareness of police brutality and violence against the black community — represents a significant change. But it’s not enough.

The statement comes one day after numerous NFL stars, led by Saquon Barkley, recorded a video telling the NFL that they wanted to hear it condemn systematic racism and affirm that Black Lives Matter.


While Goodell offers condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others, he never mentions the player who tried to save them.

Here’s what Goodell should have said:

We, the NFL, were wrong not to listen to Colin Kaepernick. We were wrong for not understanding nor appreciating the eloquence of his kneeling, the importance of his peaceful protest. We were wrong to try to silence him and bow to pressure from President Trump to “get that son of a bitch off the field.”

We were wrong for being complicit in drowning out the message that Black Lives Matter and that police brutality should not be accepted.

And it was unconscionable to expect Colin to sign a waiver that was so broad that we could have used it to dismiss future collusion charges you may have filed against us.

We were wrong to deprive you of your livelihood. And deprive our fans of your talent.

We were wrong to not treat you with respect.

We were wrong for not understanding that you were trying to save the lives of black men and women across the country.

We were wrong not to appreciate the leadership you showed. We should have celebrated you.

We were wrong not to.

We were wrong to think about how your protest would impact our bottom line and not how it would impact our communities.

We were wrong to not let you teach us about our prejudices and our failings.

We were wrong not to enable you and support you.

We were wrong.