The NFL has addressed the issues of race and sexism more clearly than most North American sports leagues. About three quarters of its players are black and about half of its fans are women, but most of the majority owners are white men and the league has struggled to hire non-white coaches and general managers.
In recent years, individual franchises have faced scandals involving allegations of sexist behavior.
In 2018, Jerry Richardson, the owner of the Carolina Panthers, sold the team is was fined by the NFL after an investigation confirmed the allegations, detailed in a Sports Illustrated report, that Richardson filed complaints of sexist and racist comments to employees with large payments that came with non-disclosure agreements. The league’s fine was $ 2.75 million, while Richardson’s proceeds from the sale were at least $ 2.2 billion.
Last year, Robert K. Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was accused of Jupiter, Fla., with two counts of prostitution solicitation crime. Kraft pleaded not guilty to ea The Palm Beach County Judge has launched video evidence gathered in the day spa where Kraft went to massage twice. A jury of three judges last month he listened to arguments in the case, which is still pending. This legal outcome could result in penalties from the league based on its personal conduct policy.
The NFL sought to address sexism between players and staff by requiring teams to interview women for management positions; establish anti-harassment training at the league office and clubs; and request teams to present plans for unconscious training and anti-racism training. Even so, some inclusion and diversity consultants for the league have expressed frustration at the slow pace of change.
The league has also struggled to respond to protests against racial injustice led by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players who have knelt while performing the national anthem since 2016.
After the NFL didn’t defend or immediately stop the protests, Trump turned the league into a political punching bag, inviting the owners, some of whom have strongly supported him politically, to fire the players which he demonstrated during the execution of the national anthem in 2017. Trump reiterated his position that players should stand during “The Star Spangled Banner” last month, giving fresh fuel to a divisional debate that pitted fans against players – and players against team owners.
Kaepernick last played in the 2016 season, and when he wasn’t signed in 2017, he accused the owners of colluding to keep him out of the league because of his political beliefs. After numerous entertainers said they would not perform in NFL events in solidarity with Kaepernick, the league paid the quarterback and his former teammate, Eric Reid, several million dollars to settle their case.