NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said “it is a day to reflect on our past” as he announced the league will recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday.
“This year, as we work together as a family and in our communities to combat the racial injustices that remain deeply rooted into the fabric of our society, the NFL will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19th as a recognized holiday and our league offices will be closed,” Goodell shared in a statement to ESPN in a piece published Friday. (RELATED: Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio Says He Doesn’t ‘See Racism At All In The NFL’)
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“It is a day to reflect on our past, but more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future,” his statement added about the decision.(RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)
According to the report:
Called Juneteenth, June 19 is celebrated as the effective end of slavery in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect Jan. 1, 1863, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, after the April 1865 conclusion of the Civil War, when the last of the newly freed slaves were read President Abraham Lincoln’s decree in Texas.
Goodell continued, while noting that “the power of this historical feat in our country’s blemished history is felt each year, but there is no question that the magnitude of this event weighs even more heavily today in the current climate.”
“Juneteenth not only marks the end of slavery in the United States, but it also symbolizes freedom — a freedom that was delayed, and brutally resisted; and though decades of progress followed, a freedom for which we must continue to fight,” the statement added.
The comments come following the NFL’s pledge on Thursday to commit $250 million over 10 years to “combat systemic racism” following George Floyd’s death, the man who died while in custody of a Minneapolis police officer.