The NFL is to commit US$90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a three-segment plan that involves league players.
In a memo sent on Friday to the 32 teams and obtained by The Associated Press, the league unveiled what it is calling a new and expanded program of community improvement. The NFL Foundation is putting a US$3 million grant into the program.
Each team is to contribute to the plan, much of which will be funded through “cause-related events and consumer products sales, auctions and other promotional sources,” as well as contributions from clubs.
In a separate memo, NfL vice president for social responsibility Anna Isaacson provided details of the program, including financial commitments, use of government resources and promoting community endeavors by the players.
The initiative comes in response to player demonstrations staged during the national anthem to protest social issues.
“Social justice may mean different things to different people and organizations,” Isaacson wrote. “The NFL’s work will encompass programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a priority on supporting improvements in education, community-police relations and our criminal justice system. Additional focus areas include poverty, racial equality and workforce development.”
NFL owners and executives in October met with players, who formed a Players Coalition, during the league’s fall meetings in New York. There also were extensive telephone conversations, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said.
Earlier this week, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid said he left the coalition because founder Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles excluded Colin Kaepernick from meetings, and asked players if they would stop protesting the anthem if the NFL made a charitable donation to causes they support.
Isaacson said in her memo that “a more thorough presentation on plans for the 2018 season, including locally focused initiatives based on joint actions of clubs and their players” will be presented at the annual league meetings in March.
Players do not usually attend those meetings, but are likely to be invited for portion of them.
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