Players and officials from the National Football League will announce today a new partnership to establish community advocacy opportunities and platforms, and Morehouse College as host for a signature initiative in this new program – a social activism bootcamp.
Protests around professional sports have been nothing if not polarizing, especially considering President Donald Trump’s persistent war of words with athletes who use the national anthem as a platform for activism, but player demonstrations may have fueled NFL support for legislative change at the federal level.
The story was broken last week by Howard University alum and ESPN pro football reporter Jim Trotter, who detailed elements of the Morehouse bootcamp proposal and talks between the NFL commissioner’s office and the NFL Players Association, which led to a joint endorsement of legislation calling for reform in criminal sentencing for nonviolent offenses.
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) October 17, 2017
Scheduled to be held in February 2018, the bootcamp will invite professional athletes across multiple sports and leagues to dialog about advancing equity in underrepresented communities on criminal justice and sociopolitical engagement.
Players and owners in the NFL are meeting today to discuss several issues connected to recent pregame protests, which players in the majority African American league believe have been contorted by rhetoric from President Donald Trump, who has called for players to be fired for kneeling during the national anthem.
It is the latest in engagement between the NFL and historically black colleges and universities, which in recent years has yielded Super Bowl tributes to Pro Football Hall of Fame members who graduated from black colleges, HBCU alumni being named as full-time referees, and sports management training pipelines from HBCUs to the NFL and other professional leagues.