Take a Knee at the NFL Fall League meeting
New York, NY - Ahead of the NFL Fall League meeting in New York on October 17; 2017; PEN America, Rise and Resist, the Corrections Accountability Project, the African American Policy Forum, the New York Justice League, Black Lives Matter of Greater New York and the March for Racial Justice are staging a protest taking a knee outside the Conrad New York Hotel, to urge Roger Goodell and NFL team owners to resist pressure from the Trump administration and defend players' right to protest.

"If President Trump gets NFL owners to punish players it will be a direct hit on free speech rights for all of us," said PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel. "Owners have a duty to step up and defend their players from the White House’s coercive efforts to silence peaceful protests."

Speakers and performances included musician K Sloan, singing the national anthem (protesters were invited to take a knee), readings by author Brionne Janae, Bianca Tylek, Donald Vincent, and Jay W. Walker, and a statement in solidarity with protesters in St. Louis.

"When NFL players first took a knee during the National Anthem, it was to protest police brutality and racism in America," said Andy Ratto, a Rise and Resist protest organizer. "While we are pleased to hear that the NFL coaches will not be banning their protests, racism and police brutality is just as much a problem in America as it was when NFL players started their protest. We will continue to act in solidarity with these players, and work to call attention to these issues."

Supporters are also encouraged to sign the petition urging NFL team owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell to respect athletes' right to free expression and take seriously their cause.

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