NFL players’ nonprofit launches PSA campaign addressing police misconduct

NFL players’ nonprofit launches PSA campaign addressing police misconduct

The family of slain Pace University student, DJ Henry, has formally filed a lawsuit against the police officer who fired the fatal bullets and his department. There were many signs like this posted on the street where his family lives in Easton, Massachusetts.

John Tlumacki | Boston Globe | Getty Images

The protests of police misconduct related to people of color have all but disappeared from the National Football League during its 100th season, but now a group of current and former players, who are members of the Players Coalition, are rekindling the conversation with an online campaign launched Wednesday morning.

The social media PSA, called “The Responsibility Program” is one of many videos that the Coalition will unveil over the next few weeks and highlights the story of an NFL-hopeful killed by police misconduct.

Police misconduct and racial equality are issues that deeply divided the NFL and its fans in 2016 and were seen as a factor in television ratings falling by 8% that season.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his now famous protest of “taking a knee” during the national anthem in the team’s final preseason game before the start of the 2016 regular season.

DJ Henry, a student athlete at Pace University in New York who was fatally shot by police in 2010, is the focus of the video released by the Players Coalition on social media platforms. Henry’s parents narrate the nearly three-minute public service announcement detailing the young man’s life, his NFL aspirations and untimely death. Henry’s mother Angella makes an emotional plea in the video, saying, “I don’t want to assume that all police officers are bad. And I don’t want people to assume that all young black men are bad … our son is everybody’s son … we need to do more to create change.”

The Players Coalition is a nonprofit founded in 2017 to address social justice and racial equality. Co-founder Malcolm Jenkins, a current player on the Philadelphia Eagles, said the campaign will highlight parents who lost children to police brutality and gun violence in several videos to be released this season.

“We have a responsibility to use our platforms to unite people and foster positive change in our communities, but we can’t achieve that goal without education,” Jenkins said in a statement to CNBC. “We want this PSA to generate productive dialogue between people of all backgrounds, so we can start to bridge the communication gap and work together to end these injustices.”

It’s not clear what impact this new Players Coalition campaign could have on the NFL or its sponsors this season.

Infamously, Papa John’s founder and former CEO John Schnatter, said fans turned off by the protests during the 2016 and 2017 seasons were leading to sluggish pizza sales during the games. On a November 2017 earnings call, the now ousted Schnatter said that “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders” and that the protests “should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

Shortly after those comments, the company’s sponsorship deal with the NFL came to an end. Months later, Schnatter was replaced after making racially charged comments during a conference call.

In 2017, other sponsors including Nike, Anheuser-Busch, Under Armour and Ford issued statements supporting “freedom of speech” without directly referencing the protests.

According to the NFL website, Amazon, Visa, Marriott and FedEx are just some of the league’s current sponsors.

Published at Wed, 06 Nov 2019 06:12:00 +0000

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