The NFL Turns Out $89,000,000 Donation to Military Families To Buy Off Protesting Players

The NFL’s $89 million pledge to fund social-justice causes comes at the expense of the league’s support for breast cancer and military charities, the protesting-player kneeling for the national anthem longer than any other active athlete claims.

The San Francisco 49ers’ Eric Reid says the NFL wants to use breast cancer awareness and “Salute to Service” funds to buy off protesting players.

The money provided for the donation is going to be siphoned from the NFL’s funds for breast-cancer awareness and military-service initiatives, so it won’t cost the NFL a dime, according to Slate. Reid, who joined then-teammate Colin Kaepernick in refusing to rise for the national anthem in 2016, tells that, contrary to the NFL’s claims, the league did view their much-discussed financial pledge as a quid pro quo to get players to stop the pregame sideline demonstrations.

In an interview with Slate the San Francisco 49ers’ Eric Reid said he’s been told the NFL is planning to allow owners to shift money that’s been pledged to other charitable giving campaigns into a newly announced, seven-year $89 million program to fund social justice causes. This apparent plan to redistribute funding from breast cancer awareness and military service initiatives was one of a number of reasons Reid says he has walked away from the Players Coalition. That group, led by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin, led the way in striking a tentative deal with the NFL this week.

Slate notes that the Salute to Service program supports military personnel and raises “awareness for the sacrifices they make on our behalf.” Which means that the NFL owners, who have largely opposed the protests during the national anthem, even going so far as to label them un-American, would be taking money from a military program to shift money to social justice reforms. Which all seems a bit disingenuous.

“We [players] made an agreement that there would be [a] task force that … would have all communications with the NFL,” Reid told Slate. “Malcolm stepped outside of that task force, he had another communication with the NFL, then [earlier this week] he [came] back and [said], ‘We are ready to announce the partnership on Thursday.’”

Reid continued: “When he asked me if I would end the protest in exchange for the donation and to announce the partnership for the proposal on Thursday, I was like, ‘Dude, no.’”

According to ESPN, Goodell was “furious” to learn that the players had not agreed to stop their protest after the proposed deal had been reached, even though there had been no agreed-upon deal that players would no longer protest if money was donated to social justice causes.