BALTIMORE, MD — The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s premier civil rights organization issued the following statement regarding the National Football League (NFL) owners decision to ban kneeling on the field by players as symbolic protests against the unfair treatment of African-Americans.
“Protest is an American tradition; by protesting we work to hold our country accountable to its highest ideals. Instead of coming together to address an issue disproportionately plaguing the African-American, the NFL owners have chosen to bury their heads and silence players. Players cannot disconnect from the aggression African-Americans face every day. Just a few weeks ago, an NFL player was stopped by police and accused of being a gang member. Others including Michael Bennett have experienced dangerous and threatening experiences at the hands of police.
“The issue of police brutality remains a pressing issue when 408 people have been killed by police this year. Black men are almost three times more likely to be killed by the use of deadly force than White men. Despite the annual killing of approximately 1,000 people by police, in a 12-year period, only 28 police officers were convicted of murder or manslaughter for an on-duty killing.
“The NAACP supports and commends the athletes in the NFL, NBA, and WNBA who refuse to stay quiet and just play ball – they stand strong with all people who continue to fight for social justice.”
Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO