Like a petulant trust fund baby, the NFL is trying to throw as much money as it can to fix the problem of national anthem protests hurting the league.
Some players, such as Philadelphia Eagles safety Michael Jenkins, seem prepared to stop protesting now that the NFL is donating so much money to causes that the Players Coalition deems fit.
The Players Coalition, made up of about 40 NFL players, has been the unified front that the anthem protesters have been using in ongoing talks with the league.
Other players, such as San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas and Los Angeles Chargers tackle Russell Okung, have broken off from the Players Coalition for numerous reasons.
Be it a general power struggle, the role that free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is meant to play in the coalition or how the $89 million is meant to be used, the anthem protesters seem to be fracturing at the seams.
Regardless of one’s general feelings toward the NFL these days, in fairness, the league actually does some good.
Breast Cancer Awareness month, accentuated by the players and coaches wearing pink, is a noble cause. According to the NFL, since 2009 the league has raised over $4 million for breast cancer research. This year, it has widened its focus to other forms of cancer in its Crucial Catch effort.
The NFL’s Salute to Service month has also done good, raising $17 million for military veterans and services since 2011.
Are these just craven attempts at public relations wins or actual charity meant to do good? They’re probably both. But the fact remains that despite the general disdain toward the NFL right now, the league does, in fact, do some good in the world.
Reid, who was the first player to kneel alongside Kaepernick during the national anthem last season, just shared some insight on the league’s donation to the Players Coalition in an interview with Slate, and he painted the NFL in a far more insidious light than previously imagined.
“In the discussion that we had, Malcolm conveyed to us — based on discussions that he had with the NFL — that the money would come from funds that are already allocated to breast cancer awareness and Salute to Service,” Reid said. “So it would really be no skin off the owners’ backs: They would just move the money from those programs to this one.”
“[NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell is trying to make this as easy for the owners to agree to as possible so that — again, their goal is to end the protests,” he said. “He’s trying to make it as easy possible to do that for the owners. He’s going to present them with a proposal saying, ‘Look, you really don’t have to do anything. We’re just going to shift this money from [other charitable causes] and just move it here.’”
Reid went on to describe the $89 million as nothing more than a “charade” designed to ease negative public sentiment against the league.
Not only is the NFL trying to throw money at its biggest problem, but i’ts generating that money by directly taking away from its charitable causes, according to Reid.
— Slate (@Slate) December 2, 2017
So money that went to cancer research and awareness, or money that went toward helping U.S. service members and veterans, is now going to causes that the anthem protesters choose. Of note, it’s been reported that about half of the $89 million goes directly to the Players Coalition for it to disperse as it sees fit.
When Eric Reid is more appalled by the NFL siphoning money from breast cancer awareness and military support than Roger Goodell is, that’s not a good sign for anyone involved.
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