Since the killing of George Floyd and the resulting protests, companies and cooperate leaders have been quick to release statements of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and denouncements of racial inequality.

On Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, released a video of himself saying that the NFL will “condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," and ensured fans and players the NFL believes “black lives matter." The NFL’s history, though, has done little to make people believe his sentiment.

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. In 2017, President Trump called for the NFL to fire anyone who knelt during the NFL. Soon after his comments, all 32 teams in the NFL began to threaten the employment of any player who knelt during the anthem. Kaepernick became a free agent, and since 2017 has not been picked up by another team.

Kaepernick and the symbol of kneeling have now become emblematic of the struggle for racial equality. Goodell did not mention Kaepernick once during his video message.

In an article for, ESPN Senior Writer Howard Bryant called Goodell’s failure to mention Kaepernick “the surest sign yet that the NFL is unserious about the actual work that needs to be done to make this right.”

Bryant points out that the fact Kaepernick is still unemployed exemplifies the hypocrisy of Goodells statement.

“How can you say black lives matter, how can you say that we were wrong, how can you say all of these things and the guy you used as a symbol to black ball is still unemployed,” he told Jim Braude on WGBH New’s Greater Boston Monday. “It is like giving a guy a death sentence, realizing that the DNA exonerates him and keeping him on death row."

Bryant said that the fact Goodell or other NFL owners haven’t moved to change the rules still inhibiting and restricting players from protesting racial injustice further speaks to the hollowness of this statement. However, Bryant does believe that, Goodell may try to enact some change in order to preserve his own image.

"[Goodell] doesn’t want this to be part of his legacy,” Bryant said. “He doesn’t want this to be the thing that people remember him by.”