The National Football League (NFL) and a group of its players have agreed in principle to partner on a plan for addressing social justice issues, according to ESPN.
ESPN on Thursday reported that the unprecedented deal will tackle concerns considered important to African-American communities.
The pact was struck late Wednesday, and it calls for the NFL to contribute $89 million over seven years to projects related to social justice concerns.
The initiative will deal with topics including criminal justice reform, education and the relationship between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.
The package represents the NFL’s biggest contribution to a social issue, eclipsing past efforts like Salute to Service or Breast Cancer Awareness/Crucial Catch.
The NFL’s proposal earmarks $89 million over a seven-year period to both national and local projects.
NFL owners will allocate $5 million this year at the national level, with their commitment rising annually until reaching a maximum of $12 million annually from 2021 to 2023.
The group will also contribute $250,000 each year at the local level, expecting NFL players to match that amount for a total of $500,000 per franchise.
NFL owners and players can exceed that amount if they so desire, but there is no matching requirement past the initial benchmark.
Teams would additionally have other fundraising opportunities, such as game jersey auctions and telethons.
The accord does not include language urging players to end protests during the national anthem in exchange for funds.
Scores of NFL employees have knelt during the “Star-Spangled Banner” this year, continuing a protest began in 2016 by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick began demonstrating against America’s police brutality and racial injustice last year, and he now remains a NFL free agent.
The protests have divided NFL fans, with some arguing they are a valid expression of free speech and others countering they are unpatriotic.
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