The National Football League (NFL) made an unprecedented move when it submitted a proposal to the league’s players that would contribute nearly $100 million to social justice causes.
ESPN reported the deal and reviewed the documents submitted by the NFL.
The NFL hopes the $100 million plan would end the anti-police protests that former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started when he refused to stand for the national anthem last year, according to ESPN.
But two leaders of the anti-police protests withdrew from the players’ coalition that was formed to negotiate with the NFL.
The Players Coalition is led by Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins and former NFL player Anquan Boldin.
Miami Dolphin’s Michael Thomas and San Francisco 49er Eric Reid said they no longer support the Players Coalition.
“The Players Coalition was supposed to be formed as a group that represents NFL Athletes who have been silently protesting social injustices and racism,” Thomas and Reid said via Twitter. “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.”
ESPN stated that the NFL’s offer has at least $89 million over a seven-year period for local and national projects.
Reid told ESPN that Jenkins had conversations with the NFL without him or Michael Thomas being involved. Reid claimed Jenkins told the NFL that the players would end demonstrations if the NFL donated money to certain causes.
“That was never discussed at any point. I feel like I’ve been misled,” Reid said. “I won’t accuse Malcolm of directly lying to me, because I don’t think he’s that type of guy. But I will say he’s misled us. And shoot, if that’s what lying is, then that’s what it is.”
Jenkins responded to ESPN: “They understood the entire scope of the plan. The last time we had conversations with [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell and Troy Vincent, Michael Thomas and Eric Reid were on that call. They understood the proposal. What we didn’t have was a conversation with players in the coalition based on some of the responses that we got from the league. We then talked about myself contracting Troy Vincent just to give them some updates on some of our feedback, which I did. That call did not have Mike or Eric on it. Everybody kind of agreed to that.”
Jenkins said the infighting was disappointing.
“For this to now be less about the actual work and more about who wants to be in the forefront or be the leader is disappointing,” he said. “It’s especially disappointing for us to hear this in the media and now be put in a position where we have to answer all of these questions. All of these conversations could have been between us as players. It’s a little bit disappointing.”