The NFL’s Plan To Donate $89 Million In Hopes Of Ending Anthem Protests Is Causing A Player Rift

The announcement has caused resignations from the Players Coalition.

Photo by Keith Johnston/Pixabay.

Eyebrows raised this week when the NFL agreed to spend $89 million to help promote and support a slew of largely left-leaning political causes, a drive that seemed to receive a stamp of approval from notoriously apolitical commissioner Roger Goodell.

Rather than marvel at the NFL’s commitment to social justice, many wondered what pound of flesh the NFL would extract in return for its generosity.

As ESPN reported, the imminent agreement led to a schism in the Players Coalition, a group of 40 NFL athletes who had been seeking a greater financial commitment from the league to support their activist efforts, with a focus on criminal justice reforms.

San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid and Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas formally announced that they had decided to leave the Coalition, claiming that they’d been shut out of the negotiating process by the group’s founders, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung also announced he would withdraw from the coalition.

Despite the high-profile departures, ESPN reported in a follow-up article that the NFL had signed off on the proposal which would earmark $89 million to “address social justice issues” and be paid out over the next seven years. The current plan, though, implies without ever explicitly spelling it out that by agreeing to accept the funds, players will stop protesting police brutality and systemic racism during the national anthem.


“The NFL hopes this effort will effectively end the peaceful yet controversial movement that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in 2016, when he refused to stand for the anthem.”

At Slate, Jeremy Stahl was told that that the “wink and a nod” expectation was the reason for the rift between Reid, Thomas, and Jenkins and the Coalition:

“A source with direct knowledge of the communications between Reid and other members of the Players Coalition says the 49ers player has major concerns about the deal. Reid is worried that the NFL is trying to co-opt the players’ nascent social justice movement. And counter to what Trotter reported on Wednesday, the source says the 49ers player was specifically asked if he would stop protesting if the league made donations to charity.

‘Eric received a message,’ the source told Slate. ‘The comment was: Would you be willing to end the protests if they made a donation?’”

Slate also reported that the $89 million may not represent an actual increase in institutional giving. Instead, the NFL would rob Peter to pay Paul, using previously earmarked charitable funds or devoting money towards commercials and other branding exercises intended to paint the NFL in a positive light.

Even if they do chip in more, it’s a pittance for a league that hauled in $13 billion in revenue last season.

As Deadspin noted, there is ample precedent for this sort of behavior by the league. Previous NFL efforts to combat domestic violence, fund research into breast cancer, and explore the link between playing football and chronic cognitive disorders devolved into little more than high-profile PR efforts wherein “the NFL’s first interest appeared to be in running commercials touting how much the NFL cares.”

In a Thursday interview with Slate, Reid said that minimizing the total expenditure was a way for Goodell —whose contract is up for extension and facing a mutiny by shadow commissioner and NFL power broker, Jerry Jones — to sell the plan.

“[NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell is trying to make this as easy for the owners to agree to as possible so that — again, their goal is to end the protests,” said Reid. “He’s trying to make it as easy possible to do that for the owners. He’s going to present them with a proposal saying, Look you really don’t have to do anything. We’re just going to shift this money from this area and just move it here” (emphasis in the original).

Then there’s the question of who controls the funds. Currently, half of the money will be disbursed to the United Negro College Fund and the Dream Corps, with the remaining 50% to the Players Coalition.

But in the future, a 12-person board will decide which organizations will be on the receiving end of the NFL’s largesse, and that board will be staffed with five owners (or owner representatives), five players, and two NFL staffers — meaning that the NFL has the votes to control the funds and the Players Coalition can’t stop them.

On Thursday, reports surfaced saying Jenkins planned to stop taking a knee. No need to wonder why.


"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

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While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

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The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.


He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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via Imgur

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There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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