WASHINGTON — When the New York Giants take the field for the first time on Saturday, the NFL will be in full-on mourning mode.
The Giants are one of the most decorated franchises in professional sports history, but the team has also endured some of the worst injuries of the modern era.
Now that the season is over, Giants fans are ready to turn their attention to the game, with a new focus on player safety and an aggressive response to a wave of domestic violence that has been sweeping the country in recent months.
In the wake of the Giants’ shocking loss to the Washington Redskins, many have begun to wonder whether the NFL is going to act.
On Monday, the league released its own report documenting the rise in domestic violence and sexual assault in the sport.
That report found that more than 100,000 people are arrested every year in the United States for assault, and that the number of people assaulted in a domestic violence incident is on the rise.
The NFL has faced criticism for its handling of the NFL Players Association protests and the recent decision to suspend players for the rest of the season for taking a knee during the national anthem.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also acknowledged that his players’ actions have made him “increasingly concerned” about how his league is being portrayed.
But it was the reaction of NFL players that was particularly shocking.
Many players chose to kneel during the anthem to express solidarity with the black men killed by police officers in the past year, while many more chose to remain in their respective locker rooms.
In the days following the Giants game, the players’ union said the decision was “deeply troubling,” and that they are “looking into it.”
The NFLPA has said it will continue to protest, and the league said it was looking into the situation, but in the end, players decided to continue to kneeled.
Some players have said they will continue their protest if they are allowed to do so.NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Monday that the league will investigate how its players have been treated during the National Anthem.
“We’re going to look into it, and I think our guys will do it,” Goodell said.
“I think there will be a conversation.”
The NFL has made it clear that it will not tolerate violence against women and children.
“In light of the horrific and preventable events in the last few days, we are deeply concerned about the response of our players and our fans, and are deeply committed to ensuring that our players have a safe, supportive environment,” a league statement said.
While many players took to social media to express their support for their teammates, many players, like wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was a defensive back for the Giants from 2011-14, took a different tack.
Beckham wrote in a series of tweets that he has been called a “sissy boy,” and said that he will no longer be the guy who “makes fun of women.”
“My focus on the team and my life will be on helping my teammates, and if my focus on football means anything, it’s not for anyone to disrespect me, or disrespect my family,” Beckham wrote.
“It’s for me to make sure that my teammates have the support and safety that they need to perform at their highest level.”
Beckham, who was drafted by the Giants in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft, was one of several players to kneell during the players anthem on Sunday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He said he felt a connection with the movement, and he hopes his protest will make a difference.
“This isn’t just about my personal beliefs.
This is about the Black people that I love,” Beckham said.