NFL releases statement after Nike-Colin Kaepernick deal

The NFL released a statement on Tuesday, after news of Colin Kaepernick and league partner Nike’s new relationship. (AP)

We’re not sure why the NFL felt compelled to release any kind of statement after Monday’s news that Nike is making Colin Kaepernick the face of its 30th anniversary campaign since the league has made it clear Kaepernick isn’t welcome, but it did.

It doesn’t say a whole lot, but it manages not to alienate a huge swath of the fan base that cares about issues of equality and justice, so point, NFL? We guess.

‘Issues…deserve our attention and action’

Here is the statement, attributed to Jocelyn Moore, the league’s new vice president of communications and public affairs:

“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities. The social issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”

The statement was quickly praised by the NFL Players Association’s spokesman, George Atallah, who responded on Twitter. “Good for the NFL and especially Jocelyn for this,” Atallah wrote.

Why make the statement?

A pessimist might say the league released the statement because of the collusion case Kaepernick has filed, and which an arbitrator decided last week will proceed, a loss for the NFL. Saying something positive about the causes that led Kaepernick to kneel in the first place could be seen as helping the league’s case.

But maybe, the owners who truly do understand why Kaepernick and other players across multiple leagues have decided to speak out for those who don’t have nearly the same platform, are beginning to outweigh those who don’t, and the millions committed to the Players’ Coalition for grassroots organizations isn’t just lip service.