(Reuters) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Saturday the league is “greatly saddened” by the recent high-profile killings of black people in the United States, including George Floyd, whose death after being pinned down by a white police officer in Minneapolis has led to widespread protests.
Floyd, 46, died on Monday after police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to his throat despite Floyd’s repeated pleas for him to stop.
Chauvin was fired on Tuesday and arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.
Outrage over the incident has led to protests, some of them violent, in major U.S. cities the past four nights.
“The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country,” Goodell said in a statement.
“The protesters’ reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.”
Goodell offered his deepest condolences to Floyd’s family as well as the families of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery, who died after being shot by a white man while out for a run in Georgia.
Goodell noted that Arbery’s cousin Tracy Walker plays for the Detroit Lions.
“As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league,” Goodell said.
“These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts.
Goodell said there remains an urgent need for action and said the league recognizes the power of its platform in communities and as part of the “fabric of American society.”
“We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners.”
Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Paul Simao