Despite the plummeting TV ratings and continued anger of fans over a rising tide of anthem protests, National Football Commissioner Roger Goodell is promising that the league is ready to increase its attention to so-called “social justice” programs and campaigns.
Only a day after news broke that the NFL rejected an ad that the military veteran group AMVETS wanted to air during the Super Bowl because it celebrated veterans and honored the national anthem, Goodell promised that the current spending on social justice is “just the beginning.”
“We’re just getting started with this effort,” Goodell said according to the Bangor Daily News.
Goodell made his comments on Tuesday at a meeting of members of a joint committee of owners and players that had been convened to shepherd the new social justice programs.
According to the paper, the group’s members include “owners Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons, Stephen Ross of the Miami Dolphins, Jimmy Haslam of the Cleveland Browns, Shahid Khan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Michael Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals.” And players include “Washington Redskins’ Josh Norman, the New York Jets’ Kelvin Beachum and Josh McCown and two retired players, Anquan Boldin and Aeneas Williams.”
Falcons owner Blank touted the cooperation he saw at the meeting. “A number of owners who have been in the league even longer than me said they have never seen owners and players work together so closely on an issue,” he said.
One of the new initiatives is to be called “Let’s Listen Together,” the league said this week.
In a January 23 statement, the league said the new campaign “includes a multilayered rollout including digital content and brand spots highlighting the player-led 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 stories and personal reasons for making social justice a priority.”
Retired Baltimore Ravens player Anquan Boldin added, “We’re dedicated to making a difference in our communities.”
The committee was assembled after the NFL announced in November it would spend $89 million on social justice issues, campaigns, and programs.
The league hoped the spending agreement would put an end to the two-year-old campaign of anti-American protests mounted during the playing of the national anthem, but players continued their protests despite the agreement to spend the money on their pet issues.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.