Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday the league admits it was wrong "for not listening to NFL players earlier" and encourages "all to speak out and peacefully protest" in a video posted across the league's social media platforms.
Goodell's video comes a day after a number of notable NFL players posted an identical video across their various social media accounts in which they call on the league to "condemn racism and a systemic oppression of black people … admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting … believe black lives matter."
The 1 minute, 21 second video begins with Goodell offering his condolences to the families of recent victims of police brutality and racial injustice before emphasizing that the NFL stands with its players and condemns the systematic oppression of African-Americans.
"It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country," Goodell said. "First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all the families who have endured police brutality.
Goodell continued: "We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players coaches, fans, and staff. We are listening, I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family."
The players' video began with Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas stating, "It's been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered."
"How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players?" Tyrann Mathieu asks.
"What will it take?" DeAndre Hopkins asks.
"For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?" Jarvis Landry asks.
Multiple players proceed to take turns asking "What if I was George Floyd?"
The players continued: "I am George Floyd. I am Breonna Taylor. I am a Ahmaud Arbery. I am Eric Garner. I am Laquan McDonald. I am Tamir Rice. I am Trayvon Martin. I am Walter Scott. I am Michael Brown Jr. I am Samuel DuBose. I am Frank Smart. I am Phillip White. I am Jordan Baker."
The video ends with the group of players calling on the league to speak out.
Earlier Friday, the league's official social media platforms reposted the players' video with the caption "Players, we hear you. #StrongerTogether"