NFL Owners’ Social Justice Cash May Defuse Anthem Protests, May Not Satisfy Fans

Valerie Richardson, Washington Times, March 22, 2018 \

After two years of kneeling players and plummeting ratings, NFL owners are expected next week to put the finishing touches on an $89 million social justice package intended to defuse the sideline protest problem that began with Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and put the focus back on what happens on the field.

{snip} The package’s $25 million for former Obama administration figure Van Jones and his left-wing Dream Corps isn’t likely to sit well with conservatives already fed up with the league’s politics.

According to the NFL, the unprecedented $89 million package — the biggest topic on the agenda for the annual owners meetings that begin Sunday in Orlando, Florida, — includes no stipulation that players must stand before games for the national anthem.

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Even without a quid pro quo, the hope was that players would respond by ceasing their polarizing sideline protests, following the lead of Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who said in November that he would stop raising a fist after helping broker the agreement as part of a group he co-founded called the Players Coalition.

That plan took a hit when Reid, who wanted to bring Kaepernick into the negotiations, quit the coalition in late November, joined by Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas and Los Angeles Chargers tackle Russell Okung.

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After his brother Justin’s pro day at Stanford on Thursday, Reid told reporters that “I’m just going to consider different ways to be active. Different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country.

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Reid has suggested that he has been blackballed over his sideline activism, tweeting March 15 that general managers “aren’t the hold up broski. It’s ownership. People who know football know who can play. People who know me, know my character.”

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While the $89 million agreement is expected to satisfy most protest-minded players, it may not assuage right-leaning fans worried about where their ticket dollars will be funneled.

The deal reportedly includes $73 million for national causes that will reportedly be split three ways: 25 percent to the United Negro College Fund, 25 percent to the Dream Corps and 50 percent to the Players Coalition, which has filed for nonprofit status and has hired the Hopewell Fund to oversee the agreement.

There is plenty to make conservatives nervous about the Dream Corps, a left-wing justice reform and environmental advocacy group headed by Mr. Jones, and Hopewell, managed by Arabella Advisors, which helps clients “create social change.”

In addition, Jenkins has credited a number of left-leaning groups for assisting the coalition, including the George Soros-funded Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth and the Center for American Progress.

Robert Kuykendall, a spokesman for the conservative corporate watchdog 2ndVote, called the agreement a “shakedown.”

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