When former NFL player Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police brutality, many people opposed his efforts. But after the disturbing footage of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer was recorded and shared with the world, people saw what police brutality looked like and knew it had to stop. Now, the NFL is taking charge of the issue by deciding to perform the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before “The Star-Spangled Banner” is performed during week one games of the 2020 NFL season.
As a tribute to the Black Americans who have died at the hands of police brutality, the NFL hopes to make a pro-Black Lives Matter statement by playing the unofficial Black national anthem. The NFL is taking a long hard look at itself and seeing what it can do to help put an end to the unjust issue of police brutality against Black Americans. Besides performing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the NFL hopes to educate their fans on the dire threat of police brutality in America. They may list the names of victims on jerseys or helmets, or they might follow through with their educational program to teach NFL fans about how Black Americans are much more likely to die at the hands of police officers than their white counterparts – even when no crime is committed.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made a complete shift in policy in the wake of the horrible death of George Floyd, an innocent father of five. Goodell stated that “Black lives” matter and that he would not be complicit in the issue. Goodell also admitted that the NFL was wrong for trying to silence previous protests concerning police brutality.
Goodell’s shift in policy came after many star NFL players, who are Black, demanded that the league respect their lives. Many players have already declared their intention to protest police brutality and continued racial inequality in America, including stars like Adrian Peterson, Baker Mayfield, and Kyler Murray.
By performing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during the NFL week one pregame ceremony, Goodell hopes to appease the Black players and millions of fans. However, it could be too little too late. The NFL has been hemorrhaging fans for nearly half a decade and struggles to keep people watching their games due to all the political controversy.
Other sports leagues, including the National Women’s Soccer League, have been working to make it easier for players to express their view around police brutality and the protection of innocent Black lives. Instead of watching players kneel during the anthem, the NWSL gave players the option to stay in the locker room during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Major League Soccer does not play to make as bold a statement as NWSL. MSL will simply not play the anthem. Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have yet to announce what they’ll be doing to curb the spread of racism and police brutality. Their announcements will be forthcoming.
Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.