For­mer NFL play­ers un­veil new foot­ball league

The Korea Times - - SPORTS - LOS AN­GE­LES (AFP) —

For­mer NFL stars in­clud­ing Ricky Wil­liams and Ter­rell Owens on Thurs­day an­nounced a new Amer­i­can Foot­ball league that Wil­liams hopes will "change the con­ver­sa­tion" around the grid­iron game.

The Free­dom Foot­ball League doesn’t have a launch date, but Wil­liams said it will be­gin with 10 teams and play in the North Amer­i­can spring and sum­mer to avoid clash­ing with the mighty NFL.

The FFL said in a press re­lease that play­ers in the league will be en­cour­aged to “ad­dress so­ci­ety’s chal­lenges re­lat­ing to so­cial jus­tice, wealth dis­par­ity, health and well­ness and more hot-but­ton is­sues they are pas­sion­ate about.”

The league said play­ers will also re­ceive “per­ma­nent and re­li­able holis­tic health and well­ness sup­port on and off the field.”

“We’re try­ing to de­velop young men,” Wil­liams told ESPN’s Out­side the Lines.

“You can’t take away their voice and ex­pect them to de­velop. ... When I grew up watch­ing foot­ball, I re­ally wanted to be like Jim Brown, not be­cause of what he did on a field, but be­cause he could take that plat­form and have a voice.

“And so, when I got to the NFL, ex­pect­ing that to be the case, any­time a big so­cial is­sue came up, we were told, ‘Be quiet. ... It’s a dis­trac­tion.’ And so, re­ally, (we’re) chang­ing the con­ver­sa­tion.”

Wil­liams, one of 31 play­ers to sur­pass 10,000 ca­reer rush­ing yards in the NFL, said that “a lot of things have changed” since the launch of the NFL, the mas­sively pop­u­lar league that is now be­ing sued by for­mer San Fran­cisco 49ers quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick who al­leges team own­ers con­spired to keep him out of the league af­ter he chose to kneel dur­ing the pre-game na­tional an­them to protest so­cial in­jus­tice.

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