NFL

NFL declares 'Juneteenth', marking the end of slavery in U.S., a league holiday

The NFL will observe June 19 — known as Juneteenth and marks the end of slavery in the U.S. — as a league holiday and close league offices that day.

Move latest by league to make improve relations with African-American players

Milwaukee residents march in a Juneteenth parade on June 19, 2019. (Getty Images)

The NFL will observe June 19 — known as Juneteenth and marks the end of slavery in the U.S. — as a league holiday and close league offices that day.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the holiday in an internal memo and comes in the wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. Since then, the league's stand against in-game protests has come under fire from numerous players.

"The power of this historical feat in our country's blemished history is felt each year, but there is no question that the magnitude of this event weighs even more heavily today in the current climate," Goodell wrote.

The memo continued: "This year, as we work together as a family and in our communities to combat the racial injustices that remain deeply rooted in the fabric of our society, the NFL will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19th as a recognized holiday and our league offices will be closed. It is a day to reflect on our past, but more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future."

The NFL, which last week committed to do more to promote equality, pledged on Thursday to donate $250 million US to social-justice causes over a 10-year period.

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