The Players Coalition, started by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and retired NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin, "was supposed to be formed as a group that represents NFL Athletes who have been silently protesting social injustices and racism", Thomas and Reid said on Twitter.
ESPN's Jim Trotter and Jason Reid report that there is no quid pro quo, but the hope is that the league's commitment will create an environment in which players will no longer want to protest, as many have since Kaepernick first demonstrated during the national anthem in August 2016. Jenkins said when he started raising his fist during the national anthem, it was because of the exposure it would generate for those injustices. It's a hard to decision to stop protesting, Jenkins said, but he added that the NFL's willingness to promote social justice work is gratifying.
Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas and San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid said Wednesday that they are breaking away from the Players Coalition, saying they "don't believe the coalition's beliefs are in our best interests as a whole". The NFL and the Players Coalition reached an agreement on Wednesday for the league to pledge $89 million toward social justice causes supported by players.
The organization reportedly agreed to give almost $100 million over the next seven years to social justice causes.
"They understood the entire scope of the plan", Jenkins told ESPN. The captain of the Eagles is also one of the faces of the NFL's players coalition. They understood the proposal. The defections of Reid and Thomas from the group of players dealing with the league on the player-activism agreement appear to greatly reduce or eliminate the chances that the agreement will end the players' protests entirely. What we didn't have was a conversation with players in the coalition based on some of the responses that we got from the league.
"So, for me, that's something I felt like we've accomplished and something I can feel proud of". That call did not have Mike or Eric on it. The owners whom Goodell and Vincent serve could have attempted to push through new rules regarding the anthem in the National Football League game-operations manual during offseason committee meetings.
"The NFL continues a disingenuous approach to player grievances, refusing to match the urgency of this moment", Okung claimed, the Times reports.
However, for Goodell and Vincent, trying to force players to stand for the anthem - which would have undoubtedly triggered a fierce battle with the NFL Players Association - wasn't a fight worth having.
Russell Okung called the league's proposal "disingenuous" and "woefully inadequate".
Jenkins said he will continue to draw awareness and 'raise up the grassroots organizations that need support to do the work'.
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