The National Football League’s “Inspire Change” social justice initiative is sponsoring several organizations that openly call for the defunding or abolition of police.
According to Fox Business, an analysis of the NFL’s “Inspire Change” program partners revealed that three of the 33 groups that get financial support from the multibillion-dollar league promote very controversial ideologies.
The Vera Institute of Justice, the Oregon Justice Resource Center, and the Community Justice Exchange have publicly advocated for anti-police causes.
In 2020, president of the Vera Institute of Justice Nicholas Turner said Vera was “committed to dismantling the current culture of policing and working toward solutions that defund police and shift power to communities.” In the statement, Turner also praised the Minneapolis city council’s attempt to abolish the local police department following the death of George Floyd. However, voters rejected the measure in November.
The Oregon Justice Resource Center has also been outspoken in its anti-police and anti-racist sentiments. In June of 2020, the group tweeted, “The brutality of [law enforcement] & cruelty of our prisons are connected by the same malignant tumor: white supremacy,” adding, “We must dismantle/defund it all.”
The brutality of LE & cruelty of our prisons are connected by the same malignant tumor: white supremacy.
We must dismantle/defund it all.
We didn't believe POC re LE brutality; we are making the same mistake by not listening to those incarcerated re their treatment.
— Oregon Justice Resource Center (@OJRCenter) June 10, 2020
Additionally, The Community Justice Exchange claims on its website that it is an “abolitionist organization… working towards a world without prisons, policing, prosecution, surveillance or any form of detention or supervision.”
The organization also hosts the National Bail Fund Network, a group of bail and bond funds that aim to “end pretrial and immigration detention.” The National Bail Fund Network includes the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which gained prominence during the summer 2020 riots when it bailed out rioters and suspected domestic abusers. Last year, then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris was one of the prominent personalities who championed the Fund.
A league representative defended the support of the three contentious groups and its endorsement of their goals, telling Fox:
“Our 33 social justice grant partners have been selected based on the critical work that they have done surrounding Inspire Change’s four pillars — education, economic advancement, criminal justice reform, and police & community relations — to break down barriers to opportunity, end systemic racism, and bridge the gap between members of law enforcement and the communities they serve. We stand by the work our grant partners have done and the lasting positive impact made in communities across the country.”
While the NFL hasn’t been shy about its support of progressive social justice initiatives, the fact that it expressly funds “defund the police” organizations is a significant discovery that may concern NFL fans.
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