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Can Roger Goodell Please Just Say the Word 'Racism' Already?

The NFL commissioner sent a letter to owners regarding the national anthem protesst. It is, like everything else the league does, horseshit.

Sean Newell

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Here are a few words that are peppered throughout Roger Goodell's letter to owners about the protests during the national anthem that continue to be willfully misconstrued by disingenuous hucksters:

  • unifying
  • unified
  • communities
  • issues
  • positive
  • dialogue

Here are a few words that do not appear anywhere within the commissioner's letter, nor do they appear in any statement made by any team or owner since this all began:

  • racism
  • police brutality
  • inequality
  • mass incarceration
  • racial wealth gap

Colin Kaepernick has repeatedly said why he began protesting. So has Michael Bennett. Richard Sherman, the same. A whole host of players have been extremely blunt about what the protests are about. They are about the second list of words on this page. Yet somehow, once the President of the United States got involved, the league co-opted and bastardized them into something about unity.

Just one goddamn time I would like for someone to acknowledge what these protests were actually about. Instead of making it about the flag and patriotism and the troops. Instead of framing them as a way to heal divisiveness.

The truth is, we are very much divided, and the only way football can help unify us is if players keep doing exactly what they are doing. Stand up, you say "this is wrong, let's change it." You do not continue to bury your head in the sand and say "we need to come together," without acknowledging why we are so far apart. You do not allow the most vocal, and dishonest sections of America (which now also includes the White House) to commandeer the discussion.

No one is disrespecting the flag, or the troops, or whatever other symbol Mike Pence and Jerry Jones want to hide behind. Racism disrespects the flag. Police literally murdering innocent citizens free of consequence disrespects the flag. The NFL continually ignoring the very precise language of their players in order to placate its owners, a group of 32 economic vampires, disrespects the flag.