League spokesman Brian McCarthy cited Goodell’s support for players who take a social stance and added in an email to The Post that Goodell had met with Jenkins, Smith, Rodney McLeod, Chris Long, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Philadelphia police representatives to discuss criminal justice reform. Lurie, according to Eagles.com, wanted to see how his players are getting involved with social injustice reform work in the community and to gain perspective and insight on the issues. (PhiladelphiaEagles.com has video of the meeting.) McCarthy wrote:
Commissioner Goodell has been talking with players for some time about social justice issues and how to recognize the progress and the important work of our players in their communities across the country.
Malcolm invited the Commissioner to Philadelphia a couple weeks ago to see and share in what they’ve been doing to impact criminal justice reform. Joined by Mr. Lurie, the Commissioner spent the day along with Malcolm and others meeting with community leaders and representatives of law enforcement.
The Commissioner is grateful to our players both for sharing their experiences and their work to bring people together in their community. We look forward to continuing to work with these players on these important issues.
Just before the season opener, Bennett brought new awareness to the issue when he accused the Las Vegas police of racial profiling and excessive force when he was thrown to the ground and handcuffed, with a gun pointed at him, after the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. Vegas police denied the accusation, but Goodell stood with Bennett.
“Michael Bennett represents the best of the NFL — a leader on his team and in his community,” Goodell said in a statement released by the league at the time. “Our foremost concern is the welfare of Michael and his family. … the issues Michael has been raising deserve serious attention from all of our leaders in every community. We will support Michael and all NFL players in promoting mutual respect between law enforcement and the communities they loyally serve and fair and equal treatment under the law.”
Last year, the NFL took step toward letting players support their causes by designating Week 13 “My Cause, My Cleats” week and declining to fine players for uniform violations that extend to footwear. For one week, players could wear cleats with a message supporting whatever cause they liked.
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