The NFL is committing $90 million to a new social justice initiative that supports efforts and programs to combat social inequality.
In a memo sent to all 32 teams Friday, the league said it plans to work closely with players, teams and other groups in the new and expanded community improvement program. The NFL Foundation will contribute $3 million in initial funding for the program.
In a separate memo sent to team community relations directors, Anna Isaacson, the NFL's senior vice president of social responsibility, stated the three-segment initiative will include input from players and team owners. A committee comprised equally of players and owners will make a more thorough presentation of the overall plan at the Annual League Meeting in March.
"Social justice may mean different things to different people and organizations," Isaacson wrote. "The NFL's work will encompass programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a priority on supporting improvements in education, community/police relations and our criminal justice system. Additional focus areas include poverty, racial equality and workforce development."
The initiative comes in response to player demonstrations during the national anthem before games. NFL owners and players, who formed the Players Coalition, met during the Fall League Meeting in October to discuss social issues important to players. The Players Coalition, which was co-founded by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin earlier this year, has worked closely with the NFL to address those issues.
"What the NFL has done is a good first step -- it's not going to solve the massive problems we have in our cities and states across this country, but it's a start," Jenkins wrote in a letter obtained by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Steve Wyche on Sunday.
"We are pleased to have developed a new initiative that focuses on creating meaningful solutions to improve our communities," NFL Chief Operating Officer Tod Leiweke wrote in his memo to the teams. "In developing this plan, we have taken the lead from our players and are honored to join them in this work."