NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Friday that the league will recognize June 19 as a company holiday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and NFL offices will be closed on that day.
June 19, also known as Juneteenth, is celebrated as the effective end of slavery in the United States. While Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in January of 1863, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, after the conclusion of the Civil War when the last of slaves were freed.
The recognition of Juneteenth comes a day after the NFL announced it would be donating $250 million over 10 years to combat racial injustice in the United States.
Goodell’s movements come after he officially condemned racism and admitted the league failed with how it dealt with player protests of police brutality and racism in a video last week. Goodell pledged the league would do better and even encouraged players to “peacefully protest” which spurred Donald Trump to criticize him via social media.
Goodell’s video message was in response to a series of requests from the NFL’s biggest stars, including Patrick Mahomes and Odell Beckham Jr., in which the players asked the league to condemn racism and admit wrongdoing in previous attempts to silence peaceful protests.
The entire discussion from NFL players, Goodell and Trump ignited after the death of George Floyd who died in police custody two weeks ago.
The 46-year-old Floyd was pinned to the ground by Chauvin, who then proceeded to kneel on his neck, preventing Floyd from breathing. Floyd pleaded for his life and told Chauvin he couldn’t breathe, but Chauvin refused to move, as the video showed.
Floyd was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Chauvin was arrested last Friday on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. On June 3, Chauvin’s charge was upgraded to second-degree murder, and three other now-former officers who were on the scene are facing charges.