Trump Asked NFL Players for List of Potential Pardons — Instead They Came Back With a Loftier Request

President Donald Trump asked NFL players to provide him with a list of people they wanted to see pardoned. Instead, they largely asked for the president to tackle criminal justice reform. 

Trump told reporters earlier in June that he was going to ask NFL players who protested the national anthem to recommend people who were “unfairly treated.”

“I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s what they’re protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system,” he said.

Watch the video below:

In an op-ed for The New York Times, players Doug Baldwin, Benjamin Watson, and Malcolm Jenkins, and former player Anquan Boldin commended Trump for granting Alice Johnson clemency.

However, they asserted that a “handful of pardons” isn’t enough to address the “systemic injustice” that drove players to protest the national anthem.

“If President Trump thinks he can end these injustices if we deliver him a few names, he hasn’t been listening to us,” the players wrote. 

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Instead of providing Trump with a list of names, the players made some requests that were slightly more far-reaching, including: 

  • Issuing a blanket pardon for people similar to Johnson who have already served lengthy sentences
  • Order the release of any drug offender over the age of 60 whose conviction is not recent. 
  • Eliminate life without parole for nonviolent offenses

The players asserted that if Trump made the above changes, it would “positively affect” thousands of lives and have a “lasting beneficial effect” on many more.

“His ability to change the lives of people for the better is immense,” they wrote. “We hope he uses it, not just for the few, but for the many.” 

Pool/Getty Images

Along with the op-ed, various players vocalized their opinion on what actions Trump should take on Twitter. 

Boldin said in a video that there are tons of people that deserve a pardon but don’t know a celebrity or NFL player to help them get their case heard.

Instead, he implored Trump to enact a policy change for nonviolent drug offenders:

Boldin’s message for Trump was echoed by New England Patriots players Devin and Jason McCourty:

As well as by Philadelphia Eagles player Rodney McLeod:

New Orleans Saints player Demario Davis also advocated for prison reform for drug offenders but specifically pointed to the “elderly population” of the incarcerated:

Philadelphia Eagles player Chris Long also advocated for pardoning nonviolent drug offenders as well as reforming sentencing for marijuana-based crimes. 

The players concluded their New York Times article with the declaration that they aren’t “fighting injustice” because they’re professional athletes, but because they’re American citizens. 

“We weren’t elected to do this,” they wrote. “We do it because we love this country, our communities and the people in them. This is our America, our right.”

What do you think?

9 pledges
Upvote Downvote

Dem Candidate for Congress Donated to Media Organization Sympathetic to Cop Killer

Hundreds Gather at LaGuardia Airport to Show Solidarity With Migrant Children Separated From Families