June 11, 2020 / 11:39 PM / a month ago

NFL pledges $250 million to fight racism

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

(Reuters) - The National Football League on Thursday announced a 10-year, $250 million fund to combat systemic racism following widespread U.S. protests over racial bias and law enforcement brutality.

The NFL, where 70% of the players are black, said it would work with the league’s 32 teams to support programs that address criminal justice reform, police reform and economic and educational advancement in light of “historic injustices faced by African-Americans.”

The league said it would also leverage its media properties, including the NFL Network, to raise awareness and promote education of social justice issues.

In 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to call attention to racial inequality and police brutality. The protest set off a firestorm of controversy with politicians, including the U.S. president, saying Kaepernick’s gesture was unpatriotic.

In a video posted online last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL was wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier but did not mention Kaepernick by name.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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