Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank said he “opposed” efforts to curtail diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in several states.
Blank, the 80-year-old Home Depot co-founder, donated $17 million to an Atlanta civil rights museum in 2021 and called to address the “underlying issues” that cause “systemic racism” in the wake of the 2020 George Floyd riots in Minnesota.
He said on Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings that DEI initiatives should be a major priority in the country.
“The notion of pluralism and acceptance of everybody based on who they are and what they are and what they can do, et cetera, that should be the highest priority for our nation,” Blank said, via The Athletic. “And certainly, in terms of job placement, job opportunities, things of that nature. So I would not politically or socially be in favor,” (of rolling back DEI efforts).
Blank added, “DEI covers all of us, whether you’re White or Black or Hispanic, or whatever you may be. So I’d be very much opposed to that. And you know, cutting back I mean.”
GIANTS’ JOHN MARA CALLS PROPOSAL TO FLEX GAMES TO THURSDAY NIGHTS ‘ABUSIVE’
The NFL’s DEI report released last week said the “hiring process for team leaders still needs to evolve, as does the thought process and evaluative criteria of many hiring managers – improved results need to flow from improved processes.”
“Simply put, it is imperative to education, enlighten, encourage, and empower team owners and other key decision makeups to shift personal perspectives, perceptions, preferences, priorities and processes,” the report said.
The league reportedly agreed to policies that recommend each franchise to hire third-party DEI consultants and each club will need to have a DEI lead executive.
Blank is on the NFL’s DEI committee.