The support of personalities and sports organizations to the Black Lives Matter movement was also reinforced by the announcement by basketball star Michael Jordan that he was donating $ 100 million (£ 79 million) to organizations promoting racial equality. The move moves away from the former Chicago Bulls’ reluctance to enter politics.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday night that the league’s previous ban on knee players was wrong. “We were wrong not to have listened to the NFL players earlier and to encourage everyone to speak out and protest peacefully,” said Goodell.
In one video posted on social networks, he added: “We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter. Protests across the country are emblematic of centuries of silence, inequality and oppression by black players, coaches, fans and staff. I’m going to reach out to players who have made their voices heard and others on how we can improve. ”
The NFL’s change of position came after some players urged the league to “condemn racism and systemic black oppression”.
The practice of kneeling during the national anthem before the games began in 2016 as a protest by black player Colin Kaepernick against racial injustice. In the past two weeks, he has become an international symbol of opposition to racism.
Trump has frequently denounced the action. Two years ago, he praised the NFL’s ban on kneeling during the national pre-game anthem, saying, “You have to proudly defend the national anthem. Or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country. ”
Last week, the president criticized New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for dropping his opposition to the kneeling NFL protests. Brees said, “It breaks my heart to know the pain I caused,” adding that his previous comments lacked “awareness, compassion, or empathy.”
Trump tweeted that Brees “should not have returned to its original position in honor of our magnificent American flag. OLD GLORY must be revered, cherished and stolen high… ”
In a response on Saturday, Brees said: “We need to stop talking about the flag and focus on the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality and judicial and prison reform . ”
Jordan, 57, said he and his company Jordan Brand would allocate $ 100 million over 10 years to the fight for racial equality and social justice.In a statement, the Jordan brand said, “Black lives matter. It is not a controversial statement. Until the entrenched racism that allows our country’s institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of black people.
“Today we are announcing that Michael Jordan and the Jordan brand will donate 100 million euros over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and better access to education.”
The Jordan brand is a subsidiary of Nike, the shoe giant that pledged $ 40 million on Friday over the next four years to support the black community.
Monday, Jordan released a statement on George Floyd and the murders of blacks at the hands of the police. He said: “I am deeply saddened, really sad and angry. I see and feel the pain, indignation and frustration of everyone. I support those who denounce the racism and violence rooted towards people of color in our country. We have had enough. “