The NAACP sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on March 9 urging the league not to negotiate a new TV deal with broadcast partner Fox.
The civil rights organization condemned Fox News for promoting "hatred, bigotry, lies and racism" and implored the league to not fund the network by signing a contract with its sister company.
The letter signed by president and CEO Derrick Johnson applauds "the NFL’s indications of support for social justice" while condemning Fox News' efforts "to inflame racial division and propagate an unstable political climate."
USA Today published the letter on Thursday, hours before the NFL announced a deal continuing its relationship with Fox.
Fox to continue carrying NFL games
The NFL announced a new TV rights package Thursday afternoon maintaining its relationship with Fox along with other broadcast partners CBS, NBC and ESPN. Amazon will now carry exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football. The overall deal is valued at $110 billion over 11 years and that the NFL reportedly asked Fox for $2.25 billion annually to continue to carry games on Sundays. The number that the NFL and Fox settled on is not clear.
Why NAACP is critical of Fox News
Fox News faces recent criticism for promoting COVID-19 vaccine skepticism and false claims that November's presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump in favor of President Joe Biden.
Advertisers pulled accounts from popular primetime host Tucker Carlson's show last summer over his comments about Black Lives Matter in the aftermath of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Carlson warned his viewers that BLM protestors will "come for you."
A Fox News staffer told The Daily Beast in July that Fox News "created a white supremacist cell inside the top cable network in America" amid a reported internal revolt over racism at the network.
NAACP: Don't give Fox News financial leverage
Fox News, like other networks with cable deals, receives rights fees as part of cable packages regardless of whether subscribers watch the network. The NAACP urged the NFL to not give Fox leverage to increase Fox News fees in packages by tying them to access to NFL coverage.
"Fox must not be permitted to exert unfair leverage to extort increased carriage fees for Fox News, by threatening to impede carrier access to Fox Sports, and more particularly coveted carriage of the National Football League," the letter reads.
NAACP: NFL 'should not be complicit'
The letter also cited frequent criticism from Fox News personalities of athletes kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice and police brutality. Goodell apologized last year for the NFL's prior critical stance on player protests while declaring that "Black Lives Matter."
"The NFL, a league where nearly 70 percent of the players are Black, should not be complicit in helping to increase the profits of Fox News, a leading voice in condemning those same players for peaceful demonstrations against systemic racism," the letter reads.
Fox regularly ran advertisements for Fox News during high-profile NFL playoff games last season.
The NFL did not respond to a USA Today request for comment.
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