Editor’s Note: While I’m sure there are many writers on our site who share the views and opinions expressed in the piece below, they are solely my own. I do not speak as the Editor-In-Chief and Founder of The Turf, instead, I speak as someone who is tired of the same old bullshit from an organization that has time and time again shown us that they have no morals, no ownership of their misdeeds, and the most selective of memories. There’s also going to be a lot of swearing, so if that’s not your bag, I’m sorry. I’m just so fucking mad.
Let’s dive right into it, shall we?
As tensions boiled over across the country after the murder of George Floyd at the hand of the Minneapolis Police, and people took to the streets demanding change and protesting police brutality, major corporations have been tweeting out responses to the unrest.
Nike put out an incredibly powerful message, one that sneaker rival Adidas retweeted.
Some NBA teams have put out their own statements, while the league has yet to do so.
But then there’s this gem.
Ladies, Gentlemen, and those beyond the binary, the NFL has released a statement. And… well, why don’t you read it for yourself.
“The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country. The protesters’ reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions.
“As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
Go fuck yourself.
Let’s start at the top, shall we?
“The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country.”
That’s good. I would certainly hope you’re greatly fucking saddened by a murder. If you weren’t I would question whether or not the league had a conscience. This is a really great opening line here, especially when it’s followed by this next one. Solid work, Roger. Really making a difference here.
“The protesters’ reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.”
Did you catch that whiff of bullshit? This is the NFL distancing themselves from saying that there’s a reason for anger here. That something is wrong. That there is a wrong thing happening. There’s a distance in this sentence that appeases their audience on both sides of the issue. A friendly reminder: that issue is whether or not black men and women should have the same ability to live freely in this country as white people. The issue that the NFL is trying to straddle here IS RACISM.
“So many of us”… but not all of us, you guys. Not all of us feel that way, and that’s okay. You can also not be outraged by the fact that a man was chased down and shot for running in a white neighborhood, or that a woman was shot in her own home, or that a man had his neck knelt on for 8 minutes.
Feel free to disregard the real fucking issue here. That’s okay. Fuck you.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions.”
This is good. It is, for sure, a lot less absolutely abysmal. This is grief being expressed in the streets, Roger. It’s the cause of the pain, anger, and frustration “some of us” are feeling. Also thank you for letting us know that you have a personal connection to these murders. Thought for a second you were just making a PR move.
Like, Roger… Do you realize how asbolutely fucking self-serving it is to use a player’s familial connection to a tragedy to really drive home how sad you are? This is the “I have black friends” of coporate apologies, Roger. How much more self-serving can you fucking be?
This next section though? Oh, this final paragraph. Buckle up, you guys. We’re going on a wild ride that includes rewriting history, major gaslighting, and straight-up lies.
“As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league.”
… What have you done as a league, Roger? Was it the publicity stunts? The photo opportunities for Jerry Jones and others? Was it the rule changes? The one that would require all players to stand during the national anthem? The one that gave them the option to protest by staying in the locker room during the national anthem? You know the one. The one that was voted on without consulting the NFLPA, shutting out the players’ voices before you could even implement the rule that shuts out the players’ voices. That one? THAT FUCKING RULE CHANGE? The one that was a full fucking bend of the knee to the non-“some of us” out there? The rule that squarely put the NFL on the side of this Administration? That fucking rule? What has the league done?
“There remains much more to do… as a league” Roger, because you HAVEN’T DONE A GODDAMN THING YET. Do not act like you have done anything to help. Do not act like you have helped in any way shape or form. Fuck off.
“These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts.”
When you say ongoing efforts, do you mean things like the incentive system for the hiring of minority and female coaches and executives? The rule that the league and the owners wrote and passed? The policy that they could have just done themselves, but instead voted that they should be paid to do it? Is that the one? Are you talking about that, Roger? You fucking dolt.
As of the publication of this piece, there are “only three of the NFL’s 32 teams have black head coaches. In the past three years, 19 head-coaching positions were available, but just two black coaches filled those openings.”
“Commitment” to what? What “ongoing efforts”, Roger?
“There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
This is the most egregious piece of the statement. And there’s really only one thing you need to remember to get your blood boiling. When Roger Goodell talks about “embracing that responsibility” and being “committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues”, I WANT YOU TO REMEMBER THAT THE LEAGUE KEPT COLIN KAEPERNICK OUT AND ENDED HIS CAREER OVER THIS EXACT FUCKING THING.
“Embracing that responsibility.” You had four fucking years to embrace that responsibility. Where the fuck have you been? Immediately after Kaepernick sat for the Anthem in the third preseason game in 2016, he answered the question “why?”
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” That was four years ago, Roger. And you did nothing but stand on the wrong side of history, you enormous fucking dickhead.
Instead of “embracing responsibility,” you blacklisted Kaepernick. You politicized the NFL and let it ride. Because the ratings were insane, weren’t they? A Pittsburgh Steelers lineman stands in the tunnel for the anthem and his jersey sells out online. You have done nothing to address these systemic issues or help end them.
All you have done, Roger, is prolong the unrest and amplify the opposition. You let the Vice President of the United States stage a PR walk out on this exact issue. Why? To quell the other part of your fanbase, the people left out in the “so many of us.”
You can’t gaslight us, Roger. We were all there. We all saw your bullshit the first time. Don’t act like we wouldn’t see it the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth times.
Kenny Britt, the former Tennessee Titans first-round pick, took the NFL to task on Instagram, saying:
“Smh just few years ago y’all didn’t give a damn about what going on in this country. this is the NFL fault as much as it is the police…. ya played a major part in this . we tried to bring it to the light in 2014 Peacefully. Kaepernick tried to in 2016. Instead of standing by our side you made a rule to try to silence us. This is fake. No ones buying it. Keep it we don’t want it. @shaunking don’t let these ppl do this, wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
The best part of this, Roger? Kenny is right. You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And we’re done with this. Every time something like this happens, the NFL finds a way to make it worse, claim they’re helping, and then forget to follow through. How is it different this time? Hint: It’s the exact fucking same.
You cannot claim to have always been on the right side of this issue when you’re the one who stoked the fucking flames.
Eat Shit, Roger.
If you at any point in reading this found yourself saying “but…”, here’s a website for you. It lays out all the ways you can help the fight against police brutality, fight for equality, battle against systemic racism, and support members of our communities who have been marginalized for too fucking long. Anything beyond that “but…” is a step in the wrong direction.
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