NFL players seeking month dedicated to social activism

Stephen A. doesn't think NFL activism memo goes far enough (1:59)

Stephen A. Smith supports a group of four NFL players' request for the league to dedicate time to social activism, but disagrees with making it a once-a-year event. (1:59)

A group of four players sent the NFL a memo in August requesting league support and asking for a month to be dedicated to social activism, not long after commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly had talked to several players regarding their game-day activism efforts.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Torrey Smith, and former Arizona Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin co-authored a 2,740-word document intended to push the NFL to honor activism in an effort "similarly to what the league already implements for breast cancer awareness, honoring military, etc."

The letter was obtained by Yahoo! Sports and originally published Wednesday night.

"We would like November to serve as a month of Unity for individual teams to engage and impact the community in their market," the memo states.

The letter was prepared shortly after Goodell spoke with several players who had protested on game day before the regular season kicked off, the Yahoo! report stated, citing two sources.

"For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community," the letter stated.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement on Goodell's visit to Philadelphia, where he and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie accepted an invitation by Jenkins to take a closer look at the city's justice system.

"Commissioner Goodell has been talking with players for some time about social justice issues and how to recognize the progress and the important work of our players in their communities across the country," McCarthy said in the statement.

"Malcolm invited the commissioner to Philadelphia a couple weeks ago to see and share in what they've been doing to impact criminal justice reform. Joined by Mr. Lurie, the Commissioner spent the day along with Malcolm and others meeting with community leaders and representatives of law enforcement. The commissioner is grateful to our players both for sharing their experiences and for all the important work they are doing in the community."

The meeting in Philadelphia occurred after the memo was sent to Goodell by the four players.

Bennett, Jenkins, Smith and Boldin either didn't return requests for comment to Yahoo! or declined to discuss the memo, citing an agreement to keep talks private, according to the website.

The league declined to comment on the memo to Yahoo! Sports but told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Thursday that "We are continuing to work directly with the players. These are private conversations."

Boldin retired in late August, two weeks after signing a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. He said in a statement that he felt "drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority. My life's purpose is bigger than football."

Earlier this month, the NFL affirmed it had no plans to investigate Bennett's behavior during an August incident in which he was detained and handcuffed by police in Las Vegas.

The league was responding to a letter Goodell had received from the president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the union that represents police officers in that city. In the letter, the union alleged that Bennett made false accusations against Las Vegas police and asked the league to "conduct an investigation, and take appropriate action."

Bennett, who accused the Las Vegas police of unfairly targeting him and pointing a gun at his head, sat on the bench during the national anthem for a Seahawks preseason game on Aug. 13 and said at the time, "I can't stand right now. I'm not going to be standing until I see the equality and freedom."

ESPN's Tim McManus contributed to this report.