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Commissioner Roger Goodell answers a question from a reporter during a news conference at the NFL owners meetings, Wednesday, March 28, 2018 in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images for NFL)

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spent nine hours Tuesday at a “Listen and Learn” event organized by the Players Coalition to improve understanding of social issues that have been so important to players around the league. 

According to Nancy Armour of USA Today, Goodell, along with other league officials and New Orleans Saints players Demario Davis and Benjamin Watson, learned about “inequities of the cash-bond system, the broad powers of district attorneys and the dangers those can present, and the challenges associated with re-entry.”

Perhaps more importantly, Goodell reportedly remained engaged in the discussions with questions.

“How do we make an impact?” he asked. “I think we have a better understanding of the problems. What are the solutions?”

The NFL donated $ 90 million to social justice issues at the request of the Players Coalition, which was created by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin, but it was clear he wanted to do more.

“(It’s important) to bring awareness,” he added, “but more than bring awareness, bring impact.”

This appearance could help send a message that the NFL truly cares about the players’ issues after mixed messages over the past couple of seasons.

Colin Kaepernick began the practice of kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against racial inequality and police brutality, and while he is no longer on a roster, other players like Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson continue to kneel.

While some organizations have been outspoken against this practice, Goodell’s active role in helping bring about change could potentially alter the messaging from the league.

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