NFL wants to use breast cancer awareness and “Salute to Service” funds to buy off protesting players

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In an interview with Slate on Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers’ Eric Reid said he’s been told the NFL is planning to allow owners to shift money that’s been pledged to other charitable giving campaigns into a newly announced, seven-year $89 million program to fund social justice causes. This apparent plan to redistribute funding from breast cancer awareness and military service initiatives was one of a number of reasons Reid says he has walked away from the Players Coalition. That group, led by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin, led the way in striking a tentative deal with the NFL this week.

League officials have reportedly expressed hope that this new, nearly $100 million program would end the practice of players protesting during the national anthem. Indeed, Jenkins announced on Thursday that he will cease to raise his fist during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Reid, though, says that as far as he knows, Jenkins is the only protesting player who supports this deal with the league, which ESPN reported on Thursday will focus on “projects dealing with criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education.”

Reid says Jenkins mentioned the idea that the league might shuffle money around during conversations with Reid and other players. “In the discussion that we had, Malcolm conveyed to us—based on discussions that he had with the NFL—that the money would come from funds that are already allocated to breast cancer awareness and Salute to Service,” Reid said in an interview with Slate. “So it would really be no skin off the owners’ backs: They would just move the money from those programs to this one.”

“We didn’t agree with that, because we weren’t trying to cut other worthy programs,” he added, discussing his and other players’ decision, announced on Wednesday, to leave the Players Coalition. “They moved forward anyways.” (Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas and Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman Russell Okung joined Reid on Wednesday in announcing their decisions to leave the Players Coalition.*)

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That's pretty low, but are we surprised?