NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on Saturday following George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis. He said that these tragic events and protests underscore that there is still work to be done across the country. However, the fans responded by referencing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick while asking why the league didn't listen when he protested.
"The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country," Goodell said in a statement. "The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions.
"As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."
Twitter users saw this statement and responded emphatically. They criticized the NFL and Goodell, in particular, for "blackballing" Kaepernick after he kneeled in 2016 and 2017. Many said that the league needed to delete the tweet and stop talking about Floyd. While social media has disagreed about certain aspects of Floyd's murder, they showed unity while calling out the NFL.
NFL owners: "The ultimate peaceful protest, taking a respectful knee, is so awful we'll blacklist the guy who did it for years!"
Also NFL owners: "Why are they rioting? Why don't they just peacefully protest?"
You think we don't see which knee actually bothers you? pic.twitter.com/B2xiJW7ZdT— Harvey 🔎☁🐰☁ (@arimareiji) May 30, 2020
Where was this energy when @Kaepernick7 kneeled and peacefully protested?— Y🙃WN (@yawn_323) May 30, 2020
goodell and the NFL claiming to care about racial injustice is like the ghost of Ted Bundy calling for an end to misogyny.— Art Martin (@gartmartin9) May 30, 2020
Shame on you. This is beyond hollow + disingenuous. This is a lie. Your actions show who you are. You’ve done nothing but the exact opposite of what you describe here. Keep Mr. Floyd’s name out of your mouth. Shame on you + the “consultants” of this travesty of an organization.— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 31, 2020
Apologize to Kaepernick— Mostly Correct Guy (@MostlyCorrectGy) May 30, 2020
Reminder: The NFL blacklisted @Kaepernick7 because he peacefully protested— The Hardy Report Podcast (@EdwardTHardy) May 30, 2020
You weren’t singing this song when you were moving mad to Colin Kaepernick. pic.twitter.com/pJIUkHMe4u— machine gun Kele (@kelechnekoff) May 30, 2020
If you had done things differently, we might not be at this point. But here we are, and your organization must do better. You must. pic.twitter.com/c0YIijoiPx— Adam (@adambrabant1) May 30, 2020
When you say urgent need for action you mean like when one of your 32 starting quarterbacks tried to bring attention to the issue YEARS ago, and instead you blackballed him from the league? Hmm... pic.twitter.com/HcpZYQihOA— Scott A. Nicol (@snicolfritz) May 30, 2020
Will the NFL please lift its on-field kneeling ban?— Adam Rifkin 🐼 (@ifindkarma) May 30, 2020
Wow I thought Roger Goodell made way more money than this pic.twitter.com/09kGc4vOR6— Max Burns (@themaxburns) May 30, 2020
Really? So now the NFL wants to stand up to racism, convenient timing. They had their chance to stand up and do the right thing, they chose to support oppression, until now. Because now, the world is watching us go up in 🔥— RN1067 (@halogen85) May 30, 2020