On the heels of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minnesota, protests have been growing around the country. With much unrest and emotions boiling over, thousands of people have made their feelings known. At the NFL level, countless NFL players have spoken out about Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests.
Additionally, several NFL organizations have released official statements, including Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons, Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins, Jed York of the San Francisco 49ers, the Carolina Panthers, and Minnesota Vikings. The statements that have been released are below. As more come in, we will update this page.
Roger Goodell, Commissioner | NFL
Link to Statement | 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.
JC Tretter, President | NFLPA
Link to Statement | At this time every month I release a column around topics related to the NFLPA and its players. However, there are issues at hand that need to be addressed that are bigger than the game of football.
Like many of you processing the news of George Floyd’s murder, I’ve felt a range of emotions from disbelief to anger. Unfortunately, this is not just about George Floyd’s senseless and avoidable death. The issue of changing systemic racism and individual prejudice in our country is long overdue.
As a white man, I will never fully understand the daily experiences and fears that people of color in this country live with. Sports have provided me an opportunity to form friendships with people from different backgrounds, races, religions, and beliefs. These friendships have helped broaden and shape my understanding of others’ perspectives and struggles.
Some may feel hesitant to speak out as they don’t what to say or how to say it. Your individual fear of saying the wrong thing is insignificant compared to the actual issues that need addressing. Racism is something that we all must take responsibility to end. As human beings, we need to identify and challenge prejudice, rather than deny it. Silence in the face of injustice only works to protect and perpetuate that injustice.
People of color have long tried to communicate what racism in America feels like for them. We can all be better listeners, validators, and friends. Our work will never be finished until every American feels safe, free and accepted in our country.
NFL Players Coalition
Link to Full Statement | Just like most people following the tragedy that took place in Minneapolis, we found ourselves angered, sad and desperately looking for answers. It seems like every week a new tragedy unfolds before our very eyes, where people are being killed by police violence. Each time, we tweet, we pray, we mourn, only to repeat the cycle a few days later.
We cannot bring back George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile or Tamir Rice, or any of the others that have lost their lives as a result of police brutality. But we can fight for a better future, for transformation and accountability in policing, to honor their memories. This is a moral imperative, necessary to end generations of trauma inflicted on communities.
Arthur Blank, Owner | Atlanta Falcons
Link to Statement | A number of events over the last couple of weeks have reminded us again that the long, worthy quest for equal justice, civility and unity in America is far from over. People are scared and in pain. Their frustration is real, and it must be acknowledged and addressed. More must be done to address systemic racism. More must be done to address the underlying issues that have led to these incidents across the country. More must be done to bring people together through meaningful change.
The public discourse on these and other issues is too divisive, too political. These are not political issues, they are human issues that need serious, earnest attention from leaders and citizens alike who understand that diversity is our strength and fair treatment is everyone’s right. Open, honest dialogue is needed on a much greater scale. It is my hope that we take this terrible moment in our history to elevate that conversation toward productive action and lasting, positive change. Peaceful protests of the past have led to new ways forward. Lawlessness, vandalism and intentionally upending the peace with any form of violence has never been productive and is not the answer. We must not accept or condone violence in any way. And to be sure, Atlanta is better than what we saw in the actions of a few last night.
Together we will rise above this on the strength of what has always made Atlanta great – its people, its leaders of past and present and its unique culture that is welcoming to all. Our Family Foundation and the rest of our businesses here in Atlanta and elsewhere remain committed to being part of the solution.
Link to Statement | The Carolina Panthers send our deepest condolences to the Floyd family and all who have been impacted by the cruel and senseless death of George Floyd. The Floyd family has faced this tragedy with extraordinary grace and dignity. We must work together and take meaningful, sustained action to find solutions and enact change that is so desperately needed to end racial and social injustice. We are committed to doing our part.
Brian Flores, Head Coach | Miami Dolphins
Link to Statement | I’ve had the privilege of being a part of many different circles that have included some very powerful and influential people of all different races and genders. The events of the last few weeks have brought some of the memories of those conversations back to light. I vividly remember the Colin Kaepernick conversations. ‘Don’t ever disrespect the flag’ was the phrase that I heard over and over again. This idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something some people couldn’t wrap their head around. The outrage that I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some of my own private conversations caused me to sever a few long-standing friendships.
Most recently, I’ve had conversations about incentivizing teams for hiring minorities. Again, there was some outrage in the media and talks that this would cause division amongst coaches, executives and ownership. I bring these situations up because I haven’t seen the same OUTRAGE from people of influence when the conversation turns to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and most recently George Floyd. Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don’t seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. I think many of them QUIETLY say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they have seen, but it’s said amongst themselves where no one can hear. Broadcasting THAT opinion clearly is not important enough.
I lead a group of young men who have the potential to make a real impact in this world. My message to them and anyone else who wants to listen is that honesty, transparency, and empathy go a long way in bringing people together and making change. I hope that the tragedies of the last few weeks will open our hearts and minds to a better way of communicating and hopefully create that change.
Link to Statement | We are deeply saddened by the loss of life that occurred Monday evening just blocks from our stadium. Everyone in our community deserves the right to feel protected and safe. Our thoughts are with the George Floyd family and all individuals who have been affected by this tragedy.
Jed York, Owner | San Francisco 49ers
Link to Statement | People throughout our country are hurting. Emotions are raw, and rightfully so. Heinous acts have been committed in recent weeks. Before we are able to realize impactful change, we must first have the courage and compassion as human beings to come together and acknowledge the problem: black men, women and children and other oppressed minorities continue to be systemically discriminated against. The 49ers organization is committing to support the legislative priorities of the Players Coalition and to donating $1 million dollars to local and national organizations who are creating change.