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Report: NFL To Pay Out $89 Million For Social Justice In Bid To Stop Anthem Protests

SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The NFL reportedly agreed to pay out $89 million to social justice causes in hopes that players will be encouraged to stop protesting during the national anthem, sources claimed Wednesday night.

The league will pay the sum over seven years, focusing on issues important to African-American communities, ABC reported Thursday. The deal distributes 25 percent of funds to the United Negro College Fund, 25 percent to Dream Corps, and 50 percent to the Players Coalition. While the deal reportedly has no language specifically requiring players to stop protesting, league sources said they hope that will be a natural result.

Team owners will pay out the vast majority of the funds, expected to pay $5 million each toward national charities this year, increasing annually until it hits the maximum $12 million per year between 2021 and 2023. On the local level, each team’s players will pool their money to give $250,000 annually, matched by another annual $250,000 donation from owners.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the NFL for tolerating the protests, slamming the league as “weak and out of control” in a tweet Wednesday.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the trend of kneeling during the anthem before a game last season. Several teams have followed suit this year, leading to more criticism from President Trump. Even so, this season’s protests had begun to die down until Trump brought it to the fore again during a campaign speech for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange.

During his speech at the event Trump urged fans to leave the stadium if players kneel for the anthem. He also urged owners to get rid of the players who kneel by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

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