NFL Donates Money to Groups That Support Defunding the Police

NFL Donates Money to Groups That Support Defunding the Police nfl logo (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

By Peter Malbin | Wednesday, 15 December 2021 11:52 AM

The National Football League has pledged $250 million in donations to grant partners over 10 years to various social causes. Weeks 17 and 18 of this year's regular season will be used to promote "Inspire Change," the league's social justice campaign. These weeks will give all 32 teams the opportunity to highlight work done in their respective communities by the club and individual players, CBS Sports reported.

The league has 27 grant partners and will add more late in the fall when it announces its next round of funding.

The NFL's "Inspire Change" partners include multiple groups that have openly advocated for defunding the police, Fox News reported.

These groups include the Vera Institute of Justice, the Oregon Justice Resource Center, and the Community Justice Exchange.

"Vera is committed to dismantling the current culture of policing and working toward solutions that defund police and shift power to communities," the group's president, Nicholas Turner, wrote in June 2020.

The NFL's funding of the group supports "Vera's In Our Backyards initiative and its work to end the catastrophic rise of incarceration in small cities and rural counties, advance racial equity, and reinvest in supports and resources that build truly healthy and vibrant communities through policy advocacy, narrative-changing campaigns and research in partnership with community members and system stakeholders," according to the league.

The NFL donated $300,000 to the Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC), the group disclosed to local media. It's unclear how much the NFL gave to the Vera Institute of Justice and Community Justice Exchange, according to Fox News.

Vera and the Community Justice Exchange have been NFL grantees since 2020, while the OJRC first received funding from the NFL this year, according to the league, Fox News reported.

"The Community Justice Exchange is working towards a world without prisons, policing, prosecution, surveillance or any form of detention or supervision," the group states on its website.

The group also runs the National Bail Fund Network, whose chapters include the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a group that bailed out rioters during the summer 2020 riots. Vice President Kamala Harris promoted the Minnesota Freedom Fund last year.

The NFL's support for the group includes supporting "75+ local community-based bail and bond funds, working to end money bail and pre-trial detention at the local level and immigration detention at the national level," according to the NFL's "Inspire Change" website.

The NFL provided a statement from a spokesperson defending the program.

"Our 33 social justice grant partners have been selected based on the critical work that they have done surrounding Inspire Change’s four pillars – education, economic advancement, criminal justice reform, and police & community relations – to break down barriers to opportunity, end systemic racism, and bridge the gap between members of law enforcement and the communities they serve," the spokesperson said.

"We stand by the work our grant partners have done and the lasting positive impact made in communities across the country."

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