Roger Goodell, Doug Baldwin write letter to Congress supporting criminal justice reform

In the wake of NFL player protests that brought attention to the need for criminal justice reform in this country, the league has come out in support of sentencing reform.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin jointly wrote a letter to Congressional leaders offering their "full support" to the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, which was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The bill, if passed, would reduce minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

From the letter sent to Congress: "Over the last two seasons, one particular issue that has come to the forefront for our players and our teams is the issue of justice for all. Last season, as part of our My Cause My Cleats initiative, several players chose to highlight equality and justice on their cleats, while others chose causes related to supporting the difficult work of law enforcement. These expressions of player advocacy aptly capture the challenges we currently face as a nation – ensuring that every American has equal rights and equal protection under the law, while simultaneously ensuring that all law enforcement personnel have the proper resources, tools, and training and are treated with honor and respect."

As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported earlier this month, Goodell and the league have been working closely with civic-minded players on ways to assist them in their community endeavors. More from La Canfora:

The league is seeking tangible ways to help players channel their concerns over social injustice, racism, police brutality and other societal ills into action at a grassroots level. No just offering financial support but working in tandem, physically, with players as they go out into their cities both in season and in the offseason. Bennett, Boldin and Jenkins all have strong convictions about the need for criminal justice reform, which is one area the league could possibly assist their cause. Those men met with politicians on Capitol Hill about such measures over the summer -- and Goodell has been very receptive to their ideas as they and other players continue regular outreach into their home communities as well as others.

"This is about finding very specific ways in which the league can work directly with players to make a change," one ownership source who is close with Goodell told La Canfora at the time. "It's about doing specific things with specific players to support their philanthropy and service. The dialogue with players like Malcolm Jenkins is very real and it dates back months. It's about finding ways to move forward beyond just what you see some players express during the Anthem and into the cities they play in."

As it stands, the bill has not yet made it to the floor for a vote even though it has bipartisan support.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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