NFL Players Respond to Trump’s Request for Pardon Suggestions

The president previously asked players to give him names of people to pardon instead of kneeling during the national anthem.

U.S. President Donald Trump. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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This month, President Trump asked NFL players who have been protesting unfair treatment by the justice system by kneeling during the national anthem to suggest incarcerated people for him to pardon instead.

Today, four players – Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith and Saints tight end Benjamin Watson – responded to the president’s request in an op-ed that ran in The New York Times.

In the piece, Jenkins, Smith, Watson and, Baldwin commended Trump for using his power to commute the life sentence of nonviolent drug offender Alice Johnson, but wrote that a “handful of pardons will not address the sort of systemic injustice that N.F.L. players have been protesting.”

They go on to suggest a number of policies the president could enact besides issuing pardons – eliminating life sentences for nonviolent offenders, releasing offenders over the age of 60 whose crimes are far in the past, etc. – which would help the injustices in the criminal justice system.

“President Trump, please note: Our being professional athletes has nothing to do with our commitment to fighting injustice,” the piece reads. “We are citizens who embrace the values of empathy, integrity and justice, and we will fight for what we believe is right. We weren’t elected to do this. We do it because we love this country, our communities and the people in them. This is our America, our right. We intend to continue to challenge and encourage all Americans to remember why we are here in this world. We are here to treat one another with the kindness and respect every human being deserves. And we hope our elected officials will use their power to do the same.”

Expect tweets to follow.

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