NFL Black National Anthem: The NFL has planned extensive content surrounding social injustice for week 1, including playing the Black National Anthem before all games.
In July, ESPN writer Jason Reid announced that the Black National Anthem will be played before every week 1 game. The song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, was originally written by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and was first performed for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
The song will be played before “The Star-Spangled Banner”on game days. It is highly likely that most players will kneel for the traditional anthem.
What Else Will Look Different in Week 1?
The world of sports erupted in support for the Black community after Jacob Blake was shot by the police in Kenosha. The league has since discussed various ways in which the players can make their voices heard.
One thing which we could see week 1 is players delivering poems or personal anecdotes detailing their experience with social injustice. These poems and vignettes would be included in broadcasts on game day.
Players may also wear helmet decals honoring the victims of systemic racism. Coaches, too, can make a tribute to these victims with a patch on their hats. Furthermore, the league will provide a list of names, with information, to assist players in choosing whom to honor.
The NFL will also directly take a stand against racism. “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” will be written on the end zone borders for all home openers.
The NFL’s Firm Stand Against Racism
After the shooting of Jacob Blake, multiple teams around the league cancelled practice for a day. They instead used the time to advocate for racial justice. The league was also very clear that they would continue having talks with players to see where they stand.
In June, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the league handled peaceful protests against police brutality poorly in the past. He went on to pledge his support for the players in their battle for equal justice under the law.
The league also vowed to donate $250 million over 10 years to social justice causes.