Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins headline a group of players who issued a memo to commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, advocating for criminal justice reform among several issues.
The memo was titled "Player Activism for Racial Inequality and Criminal Justice Reform" and was obtained by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports.
The memo was also endorsed by Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith and former wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who retired before the season to take part in activism and humanitarian work.
The document is broken into different subsections: Criminal Justice Reform (State, Local, Federal), Police/Community Relations & Community Engagement, along with a call to action. The rest of the memo outlines a timeline to execute their goals, along with key statistics that relate to criminal justice reform and police accountability.
Some of the goals the memo targeted was the institution of activism awareness month in November, and visits to Capitol Hill to meet with various legislative groups along with House and Senate representatives.
The overview reads as follows:
As players whom have been advocating for social justice for the past year, we appreciate the opportunity to engage with you, the league, owners, coaches and GMs to make our communities stronger. As we shared with you, the silence following our individual and collective demonstrations around the national anthem to raise awareness to racial inequality and issues surrounding criminal justice reform has been met with inconsistencies in press coverage and perceived lack of support.
To recap our discussion, currently there are more than 40 active players who have participated in our “Players Coalition” to work on criminal justice reform on various levels (some more than others). Below is a summary of the activities we have conducted to date.
Our focus has been to identify and place our efforts on the key areas of reform where our influence and support can make a meaningful difference in the community. Those include prioritizing Criminal Justice Reform and Police/Community Relations Engagement. Within those two areas that includes: police transparency/accountability, bail reform, criminalization of poverty, mass incarceration (mandatory minimum sentences, juvenile life parole) and Clean Slate Act, which also includes emphasis on diversion of funds towards community based programs, education and training. (More information below – see Addendum). Through Police/Community Relations & Engagement, we are working with grass roots organizations and police directly through various efforts to build trust within our communities and increase educational and employment opportunities.
Bennett and Jenkins have been among the NFL's most socially active players in recent years. Bennett in particular has been one of the league's most outspoken and has continued to protest during the national anthem.
Bennett was detained by Las Vegas Police following the Aug. 26 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, and alleged that police threatened to shoot him in the head before releasing him.
Jenkins, along with Boldin, met with Congress to help improve police and community relations during the offseason. Jenkins, Boldin and a host of other players met with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to discuss police bruality and racial injustice.
The full content of the memo can be read here.