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#pounditSaturday, December 2, 2023

Report: NFL moving closer to having ‘Social Awareness Month’

NFL owners and executives want the players to move completely past protesting during the national anthem, and it would appear progress is being made toward raising awareness for social issues in other ways.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported on Sunday that the NFL and NFLPA are planning to begin more “projects and initiatives” beginning in Week 13. The ultimate goal is to add a “Social Awareness Month” to the NFL’s yearly calendar, and the plan is reportedly to have that happen in 2018. As for this season, the league is planning to unveil some social awareness initiatives in Weeks 13-15 and continue them into January when the playoffs are underway.

La Canfora has more details:

This will encompass the first three weeks of December, leading into Christmas, and the push will then resume in the New Year. It is expected to include PSAs and commercials highlighting the work already being done in the community and ways for fans to get involved to support players and owners moving forward in specific NFL cities. And the league is prepared to make further commitments for 2018, putting this initiative on par with “Salute to Service,” and “A Crucial Catch.”

Conversations with those involved in the process on both sides revealed unprecedented levels of direct dialogue between the sides in the aim of addressing specific societal ills, including criminal justice reform, racism and systematic injustice. The NFL formally supporting a piece of legislation aimed at criminal justice reform last week is just the first of many tangible outcomes the sides are working towards, league and union sources said.

While there has been skepticism that the NFL is simply cooperating with players to avoid a public relations nightmare, one NFLPA executive told La Canfora the support from team owners is “real.”

“Whatever you might think their motive is, or if this is a business decision, I can tell you this much – this is not a PR stunt. This is real,” the exec said. “The owners have been willing to go in deep and have some uncomfortable conversations with the players, and to see things from the players’ perspective. We’ve never seen anything like this before, and it seems very genuine.

“Anyone thinking the league was going to ‘resolve’ protests or the causes the players are advocating for had unrealistic expectations. No league is going to be able to do that. But they are truly engaged on these issues and they seem committed to working with us into the future. You have to give them credit for that. They deserve credit for that. They are willing to really support their players in the community in a way we have never seen before.”

We know one NFL owner has made some very strong comments about national anthem protests, but there have been many positive reports about the latest dialogue between players and executives. The latest report is consistent with that.


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