It was reported Thursday that the NFL had come to an agreement with the Players Coalition to NFL's largest contribution to a social issue, surpassing that of Salute to Service or Breast Cancer Awareness/Crucial Catch," according to a report from ESPN.com.to various social justice causes. The deal "represents the
One of the players that publicly left the Players Coalition earlier this week said Thursday that the report is misleading.
San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, one of the first NFL players to kneel during the national anthem after his former teammate Colin Kaepernick started the movement, called the deal a "charade" and said the NFL may be moving some of the money from Salute to Service or Breast Cancer Awareness into the social justice causes.
"In the discussion that we had, Malcolm (Jenkins) conveyed to us -- based on discussions that he had with the NFL -- that the money would come from funds that are already allocated to breast cancer awareness and Salute to Service," Reid told Slate. "So it would really be no skin off the owners' backs: They would just move the money from those programs to this one."
Reid also stated that he believes the NFL is trying to make the decision to fund these programs as easy as possible for the NFL, and that the league office pressured Jenkins into agreeing now in order to announce a deal prior to the Dec. 13 owners' meeting where Roger Goodell's contract will be discussed. (League sources denied this allegation to Slate.)
"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," Reid said. "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.'"
Reid told Slate that the deal was put forth as a way to get players to end their protests during the national anthem, and that Jenkins asking him if he would do so was the last straw for his involvement with the Players Coalition, per ESPN.com. He issued the following statement to announce his withdrawal from the Coalition.
Reid also told Slate that Jenkins was the only protesting player that agreed to the deal, and that the deal has the support of around 1 percent of NFL players.
The Players Coalition fracturing just before this deal was announced was certainly an interesting development, and one of the most prominent protesting players coming out so openly against the deal is sure to make waves as well.
The allegations Reid made about the source of the funds for the proposed social justice deal have the potential to derail any efforts the league makes, if they're proven true -- especially because it would apparently take money away from a program (Salute to Service) that ostensibly is for "supporting military personnel" and "raising awareness for the sacrifices they make on our behalf," and many of the criticisms directed at the protesting players have been based on how protests during the anthem allegedly disrespect the military.