According to ESPN, the NFL has proposed partnering with its players to effect social justice change, though not all players are in agreement on the proposal.
The league on Monday submitted to players the final draft of a proposal that would contribute nearly $100 million to fund causes considered critically important to Black communities. The NFL hopes this effort will effectively end the peaceful-yet-Sadly deemed controversial movement that humanitarian, and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started when he refused to stand for the national anthem last season.
The agreement was reached just days after multiple players, including Eric Reid and Michael Thomas, left the Players Coalition (lead by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and retired receiver Anquan Boldin) saying that the group was no longer negotiating with their “best interests” in mind.
“The Players Coalition was supposed to be formed as a group that represents NFL Athletes who have been silently protesting social injustices and racism,” Reid and Thomas said in a joint statement. “However, Malcolm and Anquan can no longer speak on our behalf as we don’t believe the Coalition’s beliefs are in our best interests as a whole.”
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) November 29, 2017
In phone calls with ESPN, Reid questioned the way Jenkins handled negotiations with the league and whether they received the owners’ best offer.
“Malcolm continues to have conversations on his own with the NFL, and the Players Coalition is his organization,” Reid said. “When we agreed to be a part of the Players Coalition, we were under the impression that it would be our organization. We were under the impression that we would all have equal say in that organization.
“But we’ve come to find out that it’s actually Malcolm and Anquan’s organization. Nobody else really has a stake in the organization. Malcolm actually wants us to — he calls it invest; I call it donate — to the company to pay salaries for his staff. But again, we would have no equity in the organization.”
The players who no longer back the Players Coalition intend to remain active in their communities, promoting what’s important to them. During that process, Reid can lean on a friend.
“I speak with Colin almost every day,” Reid said. “He’s getting things set with his nonprofit. I may just work with him.”
The NFL’s $89 million offer would be spread out over a seven-year period for both national and local projects, according to documents reviewed by ESPN. On the national level, owners this year will allocate $5 million, with their commitment growing annually and maxing out at $12 million per year from 2021 through 2023. At the local level, owners will put up $250,000 annually and expect players to match that amount, totaling $500,000 for each team. Players and owners can exceed that amount if they choose, with no matching requirement. In addition, there would be other fundraising opportunities, including auctions of jerseys worn in games and telethons.
Although nothing is set in stone, and players are unsure of what to do, the vote for this plan takes place in March of 2018.