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Michael Bennett, others ask NFL to support campaign for racial equality

Center Justin Britt #68 of the Seattle Seahawks, left, and running back Thomas Rawls #34, right, join defensive end Michael Bennett #72 on the bench during the national anthem before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on September 17, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

A group of current and former NFL players has asked Commissioner Roger Goodell for the league’s support for their campaign for racial equality and criminal justice reform.

Yahoo Sports is reporting the players sent a 10-page memo to Goodell and NFL executive Troy Vincent in August asking for money, political involvement and other commitments from the league.

It also asked the NFL to recognize the month of November as activism awareness month.

The website reports Wednesday night that Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and receiver Torrey Smith, and former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin co-authored the letter.

Bennett spoke about the letter during a weekly press conference at the VMAC in Renton. He said he has not yet personally spoken to the league about the letter but that several of the authors had.

“I think it’s important that people see that players are not only being great players, not only being fathers, not only being teammates, but also being committed to their community not just in their city but around the whole United States,” said Bennett. “I think that just shows what type of people we have in this league.”

Reporters asked Bennett if he was able to balance activism with his football career.

“I don’t think you get distracted, I think it opens you up, keeps you awake, and keeps you alive and into the now,” said Bennett. “I think it’s a blessing to be able to have that ability to do your job and also to do more.”

The NFL declined comment when asked about the memo by Yahoo Sports. The players behind the letter didn’t return requests for comment or declined to speak about it, according to the website.