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A protester holds a sign with a drawing of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee in Manhattan on June 4. Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

The NFL said it was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier" on the issues of racism and systematic oppression of black Americans, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement on Friday.

Context: Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sued the league in 2018 for allegedly blackballing him over his protest of the treatment of African Americans at the hands of police, which consisted of him taking a knee during the National Anthem. The suit was settled last February.

What they're saying: "It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country," Goodell said. "First, my condolecnes to the familyies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality."

  • "We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter," he said.
  • "I personally protest with you and want to be part of a much needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no NFL."

What he's saying: President Trump tweeted late Sunday, "Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?"

Go deeper: Drew Brees draws ire for condemning athlete protests during national anthem

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's comments.

Go deeper

Sep 10, 2020 - Podcasts

ESPN's Mina Kimes on the NFL's new reality

The NFL season kicks off tonight in Kansas City, but a lot has changed since the Chiefs hoisted their trophy in February including new economics, experiences and politics.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with ESPN football analyst Mina Kimes.

Local news moves to the inbox

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.

J&J vaccine pause hurts its reputation

Reproduced from Economist/YouGov poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' confidence in the safety of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine took a big dip this week after the pause in its use, per new YouGov polling, even though the risk of blood clots following the shot is extremely low, if it exists at all.

Why it matters: For the majority of people, particularly high-risk Americans, getting the J&J shot is almost certainly less dangerous than remaining vulnerable to the coronavirus.