Roger Goodell issues statement on George Floyd's death, mass protests; Eric Reid, Kenny Stills respond

Ryan Young
·Writer
·3 min read

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on Saturday afternoon following the death of George Floyd and days of widespread protests and riots across the country.

“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.”

The statement, however, didn’t go over well with social media users.

Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills, one of the most prominent players in the league who kneeled with Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, slammed Goodell for the statement.

Eric Reid followed suit, too, appearing to make fun of the league’s “Songs of the Season” campaign.

Goodell is the latest sports figure to address Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody on Monday, after video of his arrest — which showed white police officer Derek Chauvin putting his knee in Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he yelled, “I can’t breathe” — went viral. Chauvin has since been arrested and is now facing murder and manslaughter charges.

Goodell also referenced the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, who was jogging in Georgia in February when he was shot and killed by two white men, and Breonna Taylor, a Louisville EMT who was shot multiple times and killed in her home in the middle of the night by police during a narcotics investigation in March.

Several prominent figures in the NFL have made statements in recent days, too, including Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, current No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow and Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

Earlier Saturday, the NFL issued a response to a column by a former league executive who wrote that team owners thought Kaepernick’s protests made signing him “bad for business”, saying clubs can still sign him if they wish.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made a statement on George Floyd's death and the ensuing protests. (Photo by Rich Graessle/PPI/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made a statement on George Floyd's death and the ensuing protests. (Photo by Rich Graessle/PPI/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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