NFL Doubles Down on Social Justice Support Ahead of Chauvin Verdict

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Before the jury in the Derek Chuavin trial hands down its verdict, the NFL would like its fans to know that the league “stands committed” to using its “platform” to fight for “social justice.”

Those sentiments were communicated in a memo sent by Commissioner Roger Goodell to league employees and obtained by Pro Football Talk.

“We have all been witnessing an unspeakable amount of violence across the country,” the memo reads. “Our minds are also focused on the Derek Chauvin trial, which is reaching its conclusion.”

Goodell wrote:

We wanted to make sure you are aware of resources the league offers to employees through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The trauma, emotion and anger that follows violence is difficult to bear. Please know that the NFL stands committed to using our platform to foster these conversations and to put in the work necessary to fight for social justice and to prevent these situations from happening over and over again.

NFL players are leading this work, and the league and clubs will continue to join them in helping to establish trust between communities of color and law enforcement and prioritizing new approaches to training, de-escalation and community engagement with police officers. As many of you know, the NFL and Players Coalition are supporting a number of organizations that are working tirelessly and specifically in this area: The Center for Policing Equity (CPE), The Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), Metro Family Services, and The Vera Institute of Justice. These organizations have gone to great lengths to reimagining what policing in America looks like and that work is sparking change across the country.

The memo then went on to list a variety of initiatives the NFL is working on in the realm of social justice, such as “the Council on Criminal Justice and its Task Force on Policing released a new set of research-based reports and called for the U.S. Department of Justice to dramatically expand its capacity to investigate police misconduct and propose and enforce reforms.”

Other initiatives include training to mediate potentially violent disputes and shift traffic enforcement from police to unarmed transportation workers.

The league has remained firmly in support of the social justice movement since June of last year when Goodell released a video message saying the league was “wrong” for not listening to the players after Colin Kaepernick began his anthem protests in 2016. Goodell also said, “Black Lives Matter.”

Since then, the league has made the social justice movement an official part of its organizational structure. In addition to creating player-un initiatives such as the Players Coalition, the league also entered into an “entertainment and social justice” partnership with rap icon Jay-Z.

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