When then San Francisco 49 Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest the treatment of minorities in the USA, he met intense resistance from the NFL. However, following the murder of George Floyd, Commissioner Roger Goodell offered a mea culpa.
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” said Goodell. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
Now during the UFC 250 pre-event media scrum, UFC president Dana White said the league will not compromise fighters' freedom of expression.
“When the country and the world, really, is going through all the things that we’re going through right now, to tell people they can’t express themselves is absolutely insane,” said White. “First of all, you’re going to have a lot of different feelings and emotions about all the things that are going on right now.
“When you look at the UFC, we’re truly a global business. People from all over the world face things that other people would never understand. To have the ability to tell people, ‘You can’t express yourself,’ whether it’s anger, happiness, fear – it’s crazy. We would never do that. We’d never try to do that.”
“You’ve seen some of our athletes out there in different ways expressing how they feel one way or another. The beautiful thing is that this is America. You know what I mean? You can say anything you want to and express your feelings or your opinions. I have no problem with any of our athletes doing that – or our employees. We’ve had a lot of employees express how they felt, too. It’s never going to happen here.”