“Sunday Night in America” host Trey Gowdy tore into the National Football League on Sunday after a Fox News review found that the multi billion-dollar league has been providing financial backing to groups openly advocating for defunding the police and abolishing prison.
The NFL’s “Inspire Change” initiative has funded a variety of social justice groups, which include the Vera Institute of Justice, the Oregon Justice Resource Center and the Community Justice Exchange. All three of those groups support defunding or abolishing the police, a Fox News Digital review of the program found.
Gowdy, on his show Sunday, accused the league of hypocritically supporting organizations calling to abolish police and prison time, despite excessively enforcing their own rules on the field.
“The NFL is an entity that will fine you for having your shirttail out, or wearing the wrong socks,” Gowdy told viewers. “They fine players for violating the dress code, the NFL penalizes you if you breathe too hard on a quarterback or hurt the quarterback’s feelings. Touch a referee, and you are gone for a long time,” he said. “You know what happens if you throw a punch in the NFL? You go to their version of prison.”
Gowdy pointed to second-year Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb, who was fined more than $20,000 for wearing an untucked jersey in two separate games. Lamb was also reportedly fined $5,150 for wearing his socks too low.
“It’s the hypocrisy of building a league based on rules and penalties and referees and punishment, then wanting to do away with that on the larger playing field of life,” Gowdy told viewers.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots after overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
While the NFL’s general support of social justice causes is widely known, the fact that the league is propping up groups trying to defund police departments has not been previously reported.
“There are more cops on an NFL football field than anywhere else in the country. They are called referees,” Gowdy said. “Do you know what happens if you even criticize a referee? You get fined. So why would a league built on rules and punishment want to eliminate the people who enforce our rules and our punishments?”
“NFL fans don’t want to defund the police or abolish prison,” the host said, calling the league’s decision to fund groups that “advocate for things that NFL fans, players and supporters do not want is a curious one.”
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 03: A general view of the NFL logo on the field is seen before the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
“My guess is the folks in the stands and buying merchandise and paying for NFL channel will be surprised to learn their money is going toward crazy things like defunding police and abolishing prison,” he said.
If the NFL wants to support abolishing police and police in the United States, they should put their money where their mouth is and “get rid of your own referees,” Gowdy argued.
“Throw out the rule book,” he said. “God forbid someone’s shirttail comes out….we can’t have that kind of crime.”
The NFL declined to specifically answer several questions from Fox News Digital but provided a statement from a spokesperson defending the program.
“Our 33 social justice grant partners have been selected based on the critical work that they have done surrounding Inspire Change’s four pillars – education, economic advancement, criminal justice reform, and police & community relations – to break down barriers to opportunity, end systemic racism, and bridge the gap between members of law enforcement and the communities they serve,” the spokesperson said.
“We stand by the work our grant partners have done and the lasting positive impact made in communities across the country,” the representative added.