NFL and Players agree to $89 million fund to tackle African American Communities

The NFL has jumped in the forefront of sporting leagues tackling social justice. 

Both players and owners agreed to an $89 million dollar fund to help with social issues in African American communities Wednesday, according to ESPN.

The NFL sent the final draft of the proposal to the Players Coalition, which is run by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and former receiver, Anquan Boldin, on Monday. The deal was finalized after a conference call with the league, Boldin, and Jenkins. 

The fund will help address issues such as criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education. The NFL hopes this will end protest during the National Anthem but it is not included in the agreement and has not been asked of the players. 

The seven-year deal will be split between National and Local projects. Owners will commit $5 million this year and the amount will increase annually up to $12 million. Players and Owners will both commit $250,000 a year for local projects, with the option to offer more. 25% will be allocated to the United Negro College fund and Dream Corps each. The remaining 50% will be allocated to the Players Corp who filed as a Non-Profit organization. 

While the deal seems to be ideal for all parties, some players decided to leave the Players Coalition. 

San Francisco 49ers safety, Eric Reid, tweeted that he and a couple other players were leaving the Coalition because of transparency issues. Reid accused Jenkins and Boldin of misleading the other players in the group during the process and did not include them in talks for this agreement. Jenkins told ESPN that he has been very transparent with the 40-man group throughout the entire process and has text messages to prove it. 

They are also at odds about Colin Kaepernick, Reid accusing Kaepernick of kicking him out of the Coalition. Jenkins again defended his name saying that he has been communicating with Kaepernick and said the former 49ers Quarterback thought it was best if he helped the group informally. 

According to ESPN, sources close to Rodger Goodell said the commissioner was upset when it was reported that players were leaving the Coalition, thinking that all parties were committed to this deal. 

Whether or not Reid, or any of the other players, are willing to be apart of this unprecedented deal, the main objective was completed: to address social issues with action. When Kaepernick began his protest, refusing to stand for the National Anthem, it was to help bring awareness to an issue that was plaguing the country. Reid was one of the few gentlemen that joined him, but Kaepernick was the poster-boy for the Anthem protest. 

Now one year later, Kaepernick is being blackballed out of the league - an issue that still needs to be addressed - but the message was heard. President Trump helped this movement grow when publically bashed players for protesting during the National Anthem, which resulted in a league-wide protest that included players and owners. 

Jenkins was one of the players that took a direct initiative by attempting to bridge the gap with law enforcement and the community by doing ride alongs and talking on panels. 

The goal was to help bring change and that's what this deal has a chance to do. Kudos to Goodell for standing up to the owners, by not forcing players to stand and tackling the issue of social justice, which he felt was "the right thing to do". Goodell, like many others, still want the players to stand but he did not condemn them for not; he actually listened to the issue, which was all the players were asking from the public. 

The NFL hopes this will help end the protest during the anthem and bring fans back to the NFL. There have been two sides of angry fans: those that do not agree with the protest and those that are in support of the Kaepernick and the NFL suffered. The point of a protest is to disrupt an establishment for a greater cause. Essentially, that is what this movement did. It forced the higher powers in the NFL to not only pick a side but to make a decision to stand with their players or ignore the issues at hand. 

For me, I decided to boycott the NFL because Kaepernick was being ostracized but this deal has me considering to watch this upcoming Sunday. The owners put their money where their mouth was. We weren't satisfied when they showed solidarity with players after Trump put them on the spot, many of them being sponsors during his presidential campaign. It's not much to be dissatisfied about with this deal other than Colin Kaepernick is not included in it, and he is the reason why we are all here. The NFL has made a long-term financial commitment to "the cause", proving they are down with it, more than any other league in America and that I can get with.