SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — NFL officials and players union representatives reached an agreement late Wednesday on a set up a fund to provide financial support to players’ community-activism endeavors.
However, the national anthem protests were not directly addressed in the new deal. Still several owners hoped that the new deal would bring the need for the anthem protest to end.
The tentative agreement needs NFL owners approval which may comes when they meet in December in Dallas.
According to news reports, the league and teams will provide approximately $90 million between the onset of the arrangement and 2023 to social causes deemed important by the players.
On Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid announced that he had left The Players Coalition because founder Malcolm Jenkins 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.
“Malcolm did text me this morning asking if we would be comfortable ending our demonstrations if the NFL made a donation,” Reid said Wednesday. “At that point, that was the last straw for me. He had a conversation with the NFL. We agreed that multiple people would be part of the conversations with the league so it just wouldn’t be him. He didn’t stand by his word on that. At no point did we ever communicate an agreement with the NFL to end the protest.”
Jenkins, a safety for the Philadelphia Eagles, said he was surprised Reid withdrew from the coalition after having a conversation with him Tuesday night. He said even though they had disagreements, he thought the talk ended on good terms.
“I’m not sure about whether Kaepernick wants to be involved,” Jenkins said. “I saw this as an opportunity to create a group of players that could use their voice together to really make some change, and we still have that opportunity. We’ve been able to go from protests to now speaking with ownership about something that’s never been in place before. We’re proud of that. And we’ll continue to work with whoever wants to be in that conversation.”
Reid and Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas both sent tweets Wednesday morning saying they were leaving the coalition because they didn’t believe Jenkins and former receiver Anquan Boldin, a co-founder, shared their interests.
“I haven’t been satisfied with the structure of the coalition or the communication Malcolm has been having with the NFL on his own, speaking on behalf of protesting players when he doesn’t protest,” Reid said, referring to Jenkins raising his fist instead of kneeling during the anthem. “We communicated these concerns to him numerous times and have had numerous phone calls about it. Our concerns haven’t been reflected with how the organization is being run, so I felt like I needed to make a departure from it.”
ESPN reported the NFL submitted to players the final draft of a proposal in which the league would contribute nearly $100 million to causes that are important to players in the coalition. Jenkins called it “encouraging” and said he would consider ending his protest if the NFL followed through on its plan.
Reid emphasized it’s only a proposal.
“It hasn’t been brought to ownership yet. It’s not real,” he said. “I give kudos to the NFL for wanting to step up and help us with regard to systemic oppression. I question their intent behind it. I personally think they just want the protests to end because it’s hurting their bottom line.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy didn’t reveal the nature of the discussions with the players.
“We have had conversations with the players since the summer and those discussions continue. We do not have a comment on specifics of the conversations,” McCarthy said.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump renewed his complaints about NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.
Players have been kneeling to protest racism and police brutality, particularly toward people of color. Trump says the act is disrespectful and is hurting the game.
Trump tweeted Tuesday that at least 24 players kneeled during weekend play at stadiums that he says are having a hard time filling with fans.
The president says: “The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem. Weak and out of control!”
Trump has branded the league as “weak” for not requiring players to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
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