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NFL admits officially that it was wrong about Black Lives Matters

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FILE – In this Nov. 6, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, right, is greeted by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees at the end of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif. As athletes and sports organizations around the world speak out against racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Drew Brees drew sharp criticism after he reiterated his opposition to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)

This is actually pretty huge:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell closed out a turbulent week Friday by admitting in a video that the league has erred in how it has dealt with NFL player protests of police brutality and systemic racism over the past few years.

The video, which ran for 1 minute, 21 seconds, was a response to a series of requests put forth Thursday by more than a dozen star players, including Pro Bowl quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun WatsonIn that video, the players asked the NFL to condemn racism, admit wrong in previous attempts to silence peaceful protests and to affirm that black lives matter. Goodell repeated their words nearly verbatim in his video.

I’m sure this horrifying bending of the knee to PC Woke culture is giving Bari Weiss, Andrew Sullivan et. al. a major sad, because it demonstrates that sustained protests against racism can actually work, and for some extremely mysterious reason those protests are not the kind of free speech they think should be encouraged.

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” he said. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.”

Of course Goodell and the NFL owners don’t actually think black lives matter (this a football league after all), but that’s really not relevant here: what matters is that the powers that be of America’s most popular sport don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

And let’s not overlook the role Drew Brees’s 180 turn this week played in how all this went down. Brees, a white quarterback and one of the league’s star players, said on Wednesday that he disagreed with the idea of players taking a knee to protest George Floyd’s murder because he would “never agree with anyone disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.” This provoked a backlash from many players, including his teammate and top receiver Michael Thomas, one of the key organizers of the current protests.

Within 48 hours Brees had reversed his stance completely, drawing the ire of America’s leading racist:

In a message addressed to President Donald Trump on Friday night, Drew Brees stood by his apology for earlier comments on “disrespecting the flag,” after Trump wrote that the New Orleans Saints quarterback should not have changed his stance.

In a message addressed to President Donald Trump on Friday night, Drew Brees stood by his apology for earlier comments on “disrespecting the flag,” after Trump wrote that the New Orleans Saints quarterback should not have changed his stance.

Brees was following up on his pledge to be an “ally” for the black community in the fight for racial equality and social justice.

“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees wrote on Instagram. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.

“We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?

“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”

Brees’ statement came about six hours after Trump said Brees “should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag.”

“OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high,” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets. “We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”

Again I’m not particularly interested in whether Brees has had a genuine change of heart, or whether he’s been socially pressured by other players into sounding like an ally, or IMG or Nike or whoever is telling him that his original position is now bad for business, or some combination of these factors.

The point is that Black Lives Matters is now winning the culture war. “PC Woke orthodoxy” aka the recognition of and opposition to the structural racism that is at the heart of American history, politics, economics, and culture, is becoming quite popular with the American public as a whole, which is what people like Weiss and Sullivan are actually upset about.

Now somebody sign Colin Kaepernick.

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