Sporting bodies in the United States seem to be taking very deliberate measures to add their voice to the ones that call against racism and police brutality. For instance, the NBA has hinted that courts will have “Black Lives Matter” paintings, among other interventions. The NFL has also come out with a few statements and interventions that will show their commitment to the fight against racism.
The Black Anthem
The NFL has been working on solidifying plans for honoring victims of systemic racism with a range of in-game programs in early week 2020 for four weeks following Commissioner Roger Goodell ‘s pledge to listen to and work with players in their fight for racial equality.
The NFL plans to play or perform the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – known as the Black national hymn – on Thursday, a source familiar to the League discussions told CNN before each game in Week 1 of the NFL season.
ESPN’s The Undefeated first published the story.
According to reports, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which began on the National Tv, is performed on September 10, when the champions defending the Super Bowls, Kansas City Chiefs, host the Texan Houston, will perform before the “The Star-Spangled Banner.””
The music would also be performed during particular week one tournament, Sunday evening football, and the two ESPN Monday night games, according to the report.
However, the source claims the League collaborates with celebrities to identify perpetrators of institutional racism in the season. The topics addressed with players included attaching victims’ names on helmet decals and uniforms as well as outreach activities and storytelling (for starters, new PSAs for victims, and families).
According to an NAACP page, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” first was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson. The verse was rendered by Johnson ‘s nephew John Rosamond Johnson in 1899. This first played in 1900 as part of a celebration of the birthday of former President Abraham Lincoln by a chorus at the divided Stanton School in Jacksonville, Florida-where James Weldon Johnson was the master.
NFL and Racism
After the nationwide demonstrations that occurred following Floyd ‘s assassination at the hands of Minneapolis police, a video demanded by the League to discuss the issues encountered by the Black community were published by many NFL stars, including Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham, and Ezekiel Elliott. The following day, Commissioner Goodell issued his video that met with both of the requirements. Mahomes characterized Goodell’s video as a positive first move but acknowledged the players’ determination to make it work.
The Nfl has partnered with the players to develop strategies that address individuals who are victims of racial injustice and excessive police brutality. Included among the talks is the NFL Players Association. Additional steps under consideration include awareness services and updates via public media on offenders and their relatives.
In a television interview, Goodell said he was trying to help and promote a team to sign the Colin Kaepernick Quarterback, which began a protest campaign with the San Francisco 49 in 2016. Kaepernick declined to stand in the anthem to draw attention to African American racial inequality and police maltreatment and has not played in the NFL since 2016. At Floyd’s funeral, Rev. Al Sharpton’s claimed the League’s understanding that it was unfair not to listen to protesters is inadequate because Kaepernick is unemployed by an NFL club.
“”We, at the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter,” Goodell said in the video. “I protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.
“Without black players, there would be no National Football League, and the protests around the country are symbolic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff. We are listening, I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family.”
Later on, the League recognized Juneteenth as an official holiday, committed $250 million in the following ten years, to combat systemic racism, and committed to “attaining” players who raised their voices on racial inequality issues. Today, it has pursued to highlight that aspect of the Black past.