Fans sound off on NFL's new, $90 million social justice initiative

Fans sound off on NFL's new, $90 million social justice initiative

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The NFL has a new plan in response to protests during the national anthem. It recently released an initiative to donate $90 million to social justice causes over the next seven years.

The national anthem protests made waves across the country. From your average football fan to President Trump, it seems everyone has an opinion.

"I don't believe they're protesting the United States of America, I believe they're protesting against injustice," said football fan Jason Baker.

"I feel like they're stepping on the flag every time they don't stand for the national anthem. It's got nothing to do with race, creed, color. It's about all the God-given freedoms we have in this country to begin with," Panthers fan Curtis Wallace explained.

There's no doubt the protests have impacted NFL's viewership.

"It's really discouraged me and everyone else I work with," said Wallace. "We have tickets to the game (Sunday) and we bought them in April before all this started and, to be honest with you, we were trying to sell them to pay for going on a fan boat or something else that's fun."

Yet, the NFL believes it has a solution: Donate $90 million to social justice causes such as supporting improvements in education, community police relations and the criminal justice system. The money would come from contributions from all 32 teams and include community initiatives by players.

For some, it's a step in the right direction.

"Yeah, if they're showing support for the players, because I believe what the players are standing up for, to be honest with you," said Baker.

Yet, for people like Wallace, it's not so cut and dried.

"Anytime an organization as big as the NFL can give money to a reasonable donation, a reasonable charity, I'm all about it. But as of right now, to me, it's mostly paying off the players who don't stand for the national anthem, which they should be doing anyway," Wallace said.

"I totally disagree with the whole thing. I think there have been injustices done, there's no doubt about it. They can't put a dollar figure and start throwing in money in one direction or another," said Cowboys fan Jesse Silvas.

For Saints fans...

"We've had a winning season, and a winning season solves a lot of problems," said Black and Gold owner Pam Randazzo.

Randazzo says her business hasn't felt much of an impact from protests, recently, thanks to the Saints' stellar record.

"The people here love their team," said Randazzo. "We still, here, I have people who believe in the protesters and don't believe in the protesters."

While Randazzo doesn't believe this new initiative will affect how many customers she sees this holiday season, she does believe the NFL has a lot of work to do to get people's heads back on the game.

"The NFL needs to clean that up," Randazzo said.

Baton Rouge native and 49ers defensive player Eric Reid recently left the NFL Players Coalition, a group of players who met with league executives about the issue. He says it was because coalition founder Michael Jenkins of the Eagles excluded Colin Kaepernick from meetings and asked players if they would stop protesting the anthem if the NFL made a charitable donation to causes they support.