NFL To Play Black National Anthem Ahead Of Each Week 1 Game
Following the police-involved killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the death of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of two white men who followed him as he jogged, the NFL has chosen to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem, during all week one games. Protests have broken out across the nation in response to the recent killings and the Black Lives Matter movement has come to the forefront, demanding justice for these and other individuals attacked and/or slain because of their race.
“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” will first be played with the start of the September 10th game, when the Kansas City Chiefs play against the Houston Texans. It will also be played during the Sunday afternoon, Sunday Night Football, as well as the two Monday night games on ESPN.
This is the NFL’s first major move regarding race after former quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to outwardly protest racial injustice as well as police brutality back in 2016. Not long after, Colin Kaepernick was allegedly denied the ability to play in the NFL. Now, following the recent events and protests, his actions are back in the spotlight.
In June, Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, said he encourages teams to sign Kaepernick again if he chooses to resume his career. Roger Goodell also released a video in June apologizing for not listening to players and welcomed suggestions and guidance from Kaepernick and others in response to social justice. He says the NFL opted to speak up because it realized the painful reality that was being spoken against.
“What they were talking about and what they were protesting and what they were trying to bring attention to was playing out right in front of us — and tragically. And so all of us saw that, and it was difficult for all of us. And so that was an important point for all of us.”
This latest gesture by the NFL is unprecedented and many on social media have much to say about this. Check out some of their reactions: