Less than a week after the NFL released its initial statement addressing George Floyd's death, commissioner Roger Goodell provided a stronger message of support to the league's black community Friday.
However, the second statement was apparently forced by a handful of NFL employees and several players after the first one was heavily criticized.
Many employees believed the initial message said nothing at all, sources told The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue and Lindsay Jones, and later applied internal pressure on Goodell to release a more meaningful statement.
A group of people responsible for managing the NFL's social media platforms held multiple virtual town hall-style meetings - one of which was attended by Goodell - over the last week to express disappointment in the league's choice of words, sources told Rodrigue and Jones.
Additionally, NFL video producer Bryndon Minter told The Athletic that he independently reached out to New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas to produce a video asking the league to condemn racism and admit wrongdoing in silencing peaceful protests.
"(The first statement) was incredibly inappropriate," Minter said. "As of Monday night, people thought that was a good move. And that pissed me off so much ... When the league, and company we work for, doesn't simply come out and condemn racism - as simple as that - people start to morally have issues with that.
"I decided, 'Hey, I'm just going to go rogue here,'" he continued. "If I can get one player to buy in, we'll take a chance at this and see what can happen.'"
Minter messaged Thomas on Instagram on Wednesday, disclosing his idea to make a statement. The star wideout, who criticized quarterback Drew Brees' initial remarks on kneeling during the U.S. national anthem, agreed. Minter said Thomas acted as an "executive producer" for the video and was involved in a lot of the process, including recruiting players like Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr.
"Mike said, 'Let's get the top guys in the league (to add their voices),'" Minter explained.
"(Mike) is the whole reason it started ... it was incredible," he continued.
Goodell released his second message less than 24 hours after the video was released.
"I don't think it solved anything, here," Minter said. "But it's a step. It's not silence."