Source: LM Otero/Associated Press
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell condemned racism, apologized for not listening to black players in the past, and said “black lives matter” in a video released Friday.
- The apology came after an NFL producer reached out to several players before putting out a now-viral video asking the NFL to make such a statement.
- President Trump joined the conversation, first criticizing New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees for apologizing after saying it is ”disrespectful” to kneel in front of the American flag.
- Trump then targeted Goodell specifically on Sunday.
NFL Players Release “I am George Floyd” Video
For the first time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has condemned racism, apologized for not listening to black players’ concerns about racial injustice, and said, “black lives matter.”
Goodell’s statement, made in a video Friday, represents a massive change in stance for the league, which has largely opposed kneeling during the national anthem since then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first did it in 2016.
Goodell reportedly recorded his video after watching a now-viral video from multiple black NFL players, who themselves were responding to comments made by New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance Wednesday, Brees said he believed kneeling was “disrespectful” to the American flag. Soon afterward, his comments went viral, and he became the subject of intense criticism.
That same day, Bryndon Minter—a creative producer at the NFL—messaged Michael Thomas, a teammate of Brees on the Saints. Minter said he reached out because he was embarrassed by how the league had been silent and not condemned racism or said “black lives matter.”
Minter then pitched working together with Thomas to help make players’ voices heard. Thursday evening, joined by a number of NFL players, they released a video now known as “I am George Floyd.”
In it, the players ask, “What if I was George Floyd?” before ultimately saying that because racial injustice could just as easily happen to them as it did Floyd, “I am George Floyd.” The players then followed that “I am” statement with the names of about a dozen more black people killed by police or others, including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin.
Those players also urged the NFL to condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people, to admit it was wrong in silencing players from peacefully protesting, and to say, “black lives matter.”
Goodell Condemns Racism, Says “Black Lives Matter”
For many, that video was a powerful moment of black players standing in solidarity to hold their organization accountable. It was also one that seemed to pay off as it was later reported that Goodell himself was also moved by the video.
In fact, according to an executive close to Goodell, “Roger felt like they were speaking directly to him. There’s been a lot of self reflection going on across the league.”
The next day, Goodell released a video statement where he answered many of the requests made in the players’ video and said, “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. 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.”
Notably, that is is the first time Goodell has publicly said “black lives matter.” It’s also the first time the NFL has apologized for how it’s responded to black players.
In the past, Goodell condemned kneeling, saying that players should stand for the national anthem. At one point, he even endorsed a short-lived policy that would have forced them to stand.
Still, Goodell’s response did not fully satisfy many because while he apologized for how the NFL responded to black players, he did not apologize for the NFL’s stance on kneeling. In fact, Goodell never makes a specific mention to kneeling. He also never mentions Kaepernick.
“The NFL should explicitly say Colin Kaepernick’s name,” sports journalist Taylor Rooks said. “Can’t acknowledge the right to protest & not have his actions stated.”
Rooks also noted how much power those players in the “I am George Floyd” video have, saying, “SO much more to be done, but a lot can be accomplished when players speak as one.”
Goodell’s statement comes after a May 30 tweet where he said, “The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country. The protesters’ reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.”
“We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as a part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
That tweet also received heavy criticism for not making any mention of racial injustice and for not addressing the NFL’s history with Kaepernick, who at one point, sued the NFL for allegedly colluding to blacklist him.
“@NFL what actual steps are you taking to support the fight for justice and system reform?,” NFL players like Vikings Linebacker Anthony Barr said. “Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you’re ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means.”
Trump Blasts Brees and Goodell for Apologizing
President Donald Trump was among those criticizing Brees and Goodell for changing or seemingly changing their stances on kneeling during the national anthem.
“I am a big fan of Drew Brees,” the president said on Friday. “I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag.”
“NO KNEELING,” he followed up.
Sunday night, Trump then took aim at Goodell.
On Instagram, Brees directly responded to the president’s criticism, saying, “…this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”
“We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform.”
“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”
Whether Goodell’s comments signify a serious change for the NFL remains to be seen as it won’t just require changes to executives and policies; rather, it will need to address whole teams, their players, sponsors, and even fans.
For example, last week, the Washington Redskins supported the protests by tweeting #BlackOutTuesday. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) then responded by calling the team out for the controversy around its name and mascot, saying: “Want to really stand for racial justice? Change your name.”
See what others are saying: (Yahoo Sports) (The Wall Street Journal) (ESPN)
Chris Evans Dismisses Reports of His Possible MCU Return
- Deadline published an article Thursday reporting that Chris Evans was in talks to return to his role as Captain American for at least one future Marvel production.
- The news was unexpected as Evans retired from the role following 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
- After the rumor became a trending topic, Evans tweeted, “News to me.”
Deadline Reports Evans Is Coming Back to the MCU
According to Deadline, actor Chris Evans is in talks to return to his iconic role as Captain America in at least one upcoming Marvel project.
However, according to Evans himself, that rumor is “news to me.”
Evans trended online Thursday following Deadline’s report, which stated that the actor could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in up to two projects.
Reportedly, the roles would not be for an Evans-led “Captain America” film; rather, they would be more akin to Robert Downey Jr’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-“Iron Man 3.”
Evans Said Goodbye To Captain America in 2019
Evans’ subsequent tweet appears to indicate that the actor has no plans to return as Captain America.
Indeed, the reports of Evans’ return were unexpected as the actor has been vocal about 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” being his last outing as the character.
“Officially wrapped on Avengers 4,” Evans said in 2018. “It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.”
In addition to Evans’ own desire to retire from the role, the character of Captain America (AKA, Steve Rogers) was given a firm conclusion in “Endgame.”
In its original article, Deadline explained that while Evans was initially adamant about not returning to the role, he has been more open to the idea in recent months.
So far, Marvel has not confirmed or denied the reports, but it might not be unfathomable to think that Evans’ could return to the role at some point, even if Thursday’s rumors are false.
For example, Downey Jr. is set to briefly reprise his role as Iron Man in Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming “Black Widow,” despite Downey Jr also retiring from his role in “Endgame.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNET) (Insider)
Warner Media Defends DC Films President Following Accusations From Ray Fisher
- Warner Media said it does not believe DC Films President Walter Hamada interfered with misconduct investigations on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
- Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg in DC films, previously alleged that director Joss Whedon created an abusive and unprofessional work environment on set, adding that Whedon was enabled by executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
- He also claimed Hamada tried to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to protect Johns, who is his friend, despite knowing about his involvement in the issues.
Issues on the Set of The Justice League
Warner Media is standing by DC Film President Walter Hamada after actor Ray Fisher claimed the executive inferred with investigations into misconduct on the set of reshoots for “Justice League.”
Fisher has played Cyborg in “Justice League” and other DC projects. Back in July, he alleged that director Joss Whedon created a “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” work environment during reshoots for “Justice League.”
Whedon stepped in to replace Zack Snyder, who was originally directing the 2017 film until he had to leave because of a death in his family.
Fisher says that Whedon’s behavior was enabled by Geoff Johns, who was the DC Entertainment president at the time before transitioning to a new role at Warner Brothers, as well as Jon Berg, who was the co-president of production at Warner Brothers until the end of 2017.
Warner opened an investigation into the claims and announced in December that it had concluded. The studio said remedial action had been taken but did not give details. Though, just weeks earlier, news broke that Whedon was leaving his show at HBO and Warner Media, effectively parting ways with the studio.
The studio and Fisher sparred online throughout the investigation and after it was over. In September, “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa showed support for Fisher and also claimed people on set were mistreated.
“Serious stuff went down,” he wrote on Instagram. “It needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.”
“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot eventually expressed support for Fisher’s choice to speak out in December.
Fisher Claims Hamada Interfered in Investigation
Despite the investigation ending, Fisher still lodged complaints at the studio alleging that Hamada had interfered with the investigation in an effort to cover for Johns, who was a friend of his. At the end of 2020, Fisher said he did not want to work on any production involving Hamada.
On Wednesday, he confirmed that Warner Bros. decided to remove Cyborg from the upcoming film “The Flash.” He said that while he disagreed, he was not surprised.
“While I do mourn the lost opportunity to bring Victor Stone back to the screen, bringing awareness to the actions of Walter Hamada will prove to be a much more important contribution to our world,” he wrote.
Fisher said that when he tried to escalate his concerns about Whedon, Johns, and Berg on the “Justice League” set to Hamada, Hamda attempted to throw Whedon and Berg under the bus to save Johns. Fisher said that he alerted Hamada that Johns was in fact involved with the issues at hand, but Hamada allegedly responded by asking for names of more witnesses and dismissing the claims.
“Walter Hamada interfering with the ‘Justice League’ investigation is a completely separate issue than the investigation itself,” Fisher wrote. “And while Walter’s behavior was not a point of focus for the investigation of the ‘Justice League’ reshoots, his dangerous and enabling actions during the investigation process must be called to account.”
“No one, in any profession, should have to argue with their employer for their claims of abuse,” he continued before saying Hamada was “unfit” for a position in leadership.
He said that if ending his tenure playing Cyborg was the price he had to pay to bring awareness to Hamada’s actions, that he would “pay it gladly.”
Warner Media Stands By Hamada
On Thursday morning Warner Media contradicted Fisher’s remarks and stood by Hamada.
“I believe in Walter Hamada and that he did not impede or interfere in the investigation,” WarnerMedia chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “Furthermore, I have full confidence in the investigation’s process and findings. Walter is a well-respected leader, known by his colleagues, peers, and me as a man of great character and integrity.”
Warner Media also said that they remain in business with Johns, who produces a number of projects at the studio.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Wrap) (Entertainment Weekly)
Belle Delphine Responds To Outrage After Tweeting Out Graphic Photos
- Adult content creator Belle Delphine sparked outrage after tweeting graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying a kidnapping situation.
- Many accused her of glorifying rape and even pedophilia, arguing that she was dressed like a child. Others criticized her for not including a content warning and potentially triggering assault survivors.
- Delphine issued a statement refusing to apologize, saying, “There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual.” She also said those who require trigger warnings before posts should not follow her.
CONTENT WARNING: The photos in this article and the discussion around
them involve explicit sexual content, rape, and kidnapping.
Belle Delphine Sparks Outrage
Adult content creator Belle Delphine received immediate backlash Tuesday after tweeting out graphic sexual photos of herself roleplaying as an apparent kidnapping victim.
“My perfect first date,” she captioned her post. The photos show Delphine in the back of a car with her legs and wrists bound by ropes. Her mouth is also covered by duct tape. In one specific image, a man who appears to be her “kidnapper” is having sex with her against a tree in the woods.
Soon after posting the photos, Twitter users accused her of fetishizing and glorifying rape. Some even argued that she was glorifying pedophilia as well because she appeared to be dressed like a child.
That type of defense was slammed as well, with critics saying there were still other problems with her post. For instance, many noted that her tweet did not include a content or trigger warning. They described that choice as irresponsible given the explicit nature of the photos, which could bring pain to rape and assault survivors.
Others argued that even though this situation was consensual, without the context, some might see these photos and internally normalize rape. They also noted that people who see the images might not be aware or any safe words or other signals that could have been agreed upon beforehand.
The issue isn’t having this kink, it’s the fact that a lot of males here will see this and think this is normal. They don’t know about the safe words, long discussions, and therapy that take place before engaging in a scene like this. They just see rape.— amelia (@ameIia_says) January 13, 2021
Delphine Defends Herself
Delphine addressed the backlash Wednesday, saying she is “not sorry.”
“There is nothing wrong with enjoying powerplay and BDSM where both people are consensual. I think saying because I enjoy consensual non-consent is promoting rape, is the same as the argument that violence in video games promotes violence,” she wrote.
“I made it very clear in the caption of my photo, and anything written about it that I was enjoying it and that is was consensual, I never said the word rape, or anything against my will. This is what other people have put onto it.”
She also said it was “insane” to her that people thought she was dressed like a child. She described the outfit as “vintage” and said that other people dress like this all the time.
“If it’s about how I genetically look I can’t change that and I will not apologize for it either nor will I stop being sexual since I am a sexually active adult,” she added.
“No one likes rape, no one wants rape to exist,” she continued. “Saying that I support rape is the same as saying that 50% of the female population does, because if you look at statistics based upon this (from studies done over the last 30 years, including new studies) 31-61% of women have powerplay/rape fantasies in the exact same way. I consented to being tied up and to having rough sex.”
Delphine said that the front page of porn sites has every “fantasy scenario” a person can think of, from incest to teacher to stepmom and that one of the most common sexual fantasies is a schoolgirl.
“Just because someone likes the fantasy of something, doesn’t mean they want it in real life. Sex is complex and explorative, but should always be consensual,” she wrote.
When it comes to people upset that she did not include a trigger warning, she said that because her job involves this kind of content, people who would be upset by this should not follow here.
“My whole Twitter/OnlyFans have constant themes of kink since I do porn as a job and I will not put a trigger warning on all of my posts,” she said. “Do not follow me if you require trigger warnings before posts.”