NFL's 'Let's Listen Together' to build on social justice commitment

By The Sports Xchange
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

The NFL finalized plans for a joint player and ownership commitment that focuses on social justice issues, the league announced Tuesday.

The campaign called "Let's Listen Together" will publicize the players' work on social and racial equality. The platform will also include social media support, as well as individual letters from players and owners sharing their personal stories for making social justice a priority.


The initiative is a result of months of discussions between commissioner Roger Goodell and a group of players led by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

"We are pleased to have developed a new initiative that focuses on creating meaningful solutions to improve our communities," Goodell said. "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."


The talks began amid a discussion about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement prior to the 2016 season to kneel during the national anthem as a protest to denounce police brutality against African-Americans, social injustice and racial inequality.

"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," Boldin said in a statement. "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."

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In addition to Jenkins and Boldin, the working group includes New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum and quarterback Josh McCown, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and the retired Aeneas Williams.

"This working group and our Players Coalition task force are striving hard to change the narrative," Norman said. "From police/community engagement, criminal justice reform and to educational and economic advancement. It's about fostering wisdom and developing an understanding of your surroundings, your resources, and your options. We are a nation built on the backs of diverse people, led by diverse people; as a united people can reach out together and turn the key that unlocks the full potential of our country."


Owners on the committee include the Arizona Cardinals' Michael Bidwell, the Atlanta Falcons' Arthur Blank, the Cleveland Browns' Jimmy Haslam, the Jacksonville Jaguars' Shahid Khan and the Miami Dolphins' Stephen Ross.

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"I've personally experienced social ignorance and injustice in my life, but unfortunately millions of Americans face societal challenges each day that are far greater and outweigh anything I have encountered," Khan said. "We have an opportunity and obligation at the National Football League to first make this stop, and then build a community -- whether that's local, national or global -- where right and good prevail.

"This is a calling that I am proud to answer as a member of the committee, and being surrounded by strong owners and players who share the same commitment, I am confident the progress and change we need will happen. It may not be easy getting there, but we will do all we can to get there and ultimately be better."

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