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Issa Longshot: NFL Players Looking to Dedicate a Month to Activism Are Asking for the League’s Endorsement

In the letter addressed to the league, the authors made it clear they're asking for support, not permission.

by Zahara Hill, September 21, 2017

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Anquan Boldin accepting the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award last February. Photo: John Salangsang/Invision for NFL/AP Images

A group of NFL players, both current and former, have crafted a 10-page memo asking for the league’s support of dedicating the month of November to social activism.

The letter was penned by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Torrey Smith and Malcolm Jenkins, former Buffalo Bills player Anquin Boldin who recently stepped away from the league for its apathy towards racial matters and Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett who was assaulted by a Las Vegas police officer in August. Bennett and Jenkins have both taken part in the movement initiated by Colin Kaepernick last August to not stand during the national anthem in protest of police killings.



The memo asks the NFL to aid in the resources needed to create educational opportunities relating to activism, garner political involvement and fund other initiatives. But the athletes made it clear that they are solely asking for the league’s support not their approval.

“To be clear, we are asking for your support,” the memo reads. “We appreciate your acknowledgement on the call regarding the clear distinction between support and permission. For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community.”

“To start, we appreciate your agreement on making this an immediate priority,” the letter continues. “In your words, from Protest to Progress, we need action.”

If you ask us, the players are extending the NFL a pretty golden opportunity to clean up their reputation. Neither the athletes nor NFL executives have publicly commented on the memo or the league’s decision.





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