According to reports, the Black National Anthem will return prior to the start of all NFL games permanently in 2021.
Front Office Sports said Wednesday that “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, also known as the Black National Anthem, was played before the start of Week 1 games during the 2020 NFL season, and the NFL plans to make it a “prominent part of big-league events,” and the NFL will likely highlight victims of racial injustice with a “Say Their Stories” project, as well.
With the NFL’s 10-year, $250 million commitment to combat systemic racism, Front Office Sports says the league will promote social justice via “on-field signage, decals on player helmets, and in-stadium PSAs.”
The NFL announced in June 2020 that it will commit a quarter of a billion dollars over 10 years to a fund to combat systemic racism and support the battle against injustices faced by African Americans.
One person familiar with the league’s program even said the league would be willing to work with Kaepernick on social justice initiatives.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the work Colin and other players have led off,” the person said. “That is a key point here. We listened to our players. We needed to listen more, we needed to move faster. We heard them and launched a social justice platform because of what Colin was protesting about. The players have always been an essential piece of this effort and this campaign. It would be awesome to engage Colin on some of the work we are doing. He’s doing real impactful work. Getting him in some way would be amazing for us. There’s a lot of work to do to get to that point. We’re certainly open and willing to do that.”
On June 5, 2020, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a video and said, “It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality.
Goodell continued: “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally 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 emblematic 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.”