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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.

Updated 25 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.