BOSTON, Massachusetts — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family released a video message in response to the killing of George Floyd and the resulting nationwide movement for social justice.
The Krafts say they are pledging $1 million in the form of $100,000 monthly donations over the next 10 months, to social justice causes. The donations will be given to local grassroots organizations, which are chosen in collaboration with Patriots players, the message says, “that are fighting for equity, working to end systemic racism and creating meaningful change in our community.”
The message says actions are better than words, knowledge is better than ignorance, equity is better than privilege, and working together is better than standing alone.
“Change always begins with listening and learning,” the message continues.
The organizations chosen will also be invited to speak to executives and senior management in the Kraft Group businesses, “so we can learn about their work and continue to grow in knowledge and awareness, especially among those in leadership positions.”
The message ends with, “Our eyes, ears and hearts are open.”
The Patriots have also posted “Black Lives Matter” in support, and in a statement, said they are “horrified” by the acts of racisms they’ve witnessed and are heartbroken for the families.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday that the league believes “black lives matter,” posting a video addressing racial inequality.
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," Goodell said. "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter."
Goodell’s video is almost word-for-word of what a group of players called on the league to declare in their own video Thursday.
The one key difference: the players wanted the NFL to admit it was wrong to silence players from protesting. Goodell said the league was wrong for not listening to players. But he said the NFL would encourage them to speak out and peacefully protest.
The Patriots organization and the Kraft family has been active philanthropically in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Kraft auctioned off his Super Bowl LI championship ring, with proceeds benefitting Feeding America and World Central Kitchen to help combat food insecurity in America during the pandemic.
The Patriots also fought hunger by delivering food to veterans and even made a stop in Bangor last month.