The league will play Lift Every Voice before the start of each of the first games
The NFL is taking another step toward fulfilling its promise to promote social justice and condemn racism in the league. A source familiar with the NFL told NPR that the song known as the “Black National Anthem” will be played at the start of every season opener game. The song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” will be played or performed live before Week 1 NFL games in an effort to recognize victims of systemic racism.
According to the source, the song will be interpreted or listened to before The Star Spangled Banner. If the information is correct, the black national anthem could be played on September 10 in the nationally-televised game between Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans. The song will be played also during the full slate of Sunday afternoon games, Sunday Night Football and the two ESPN Monday night games.
The NFL has been discussing this matter with the NFL Players Association and, among other aspects discussed between the two organizations, was the inclusion of on-uniform elements like the name of victims in the form of helmet decals or jersey patches. Other things the league could implement are educational programs and storytelling bout the victims and their families.
This news is a first step that shows how the NFL is changing after the recent wave of protests in response to racial justice and condemnation of police violence triggered by the death of George Floyd. Several players participated in a video called “Stronger Together” where the NFL was called to publicly condemn racism, admit wrongdoing for preventing players from peacefully protesting and affirm that Black lives matter. Commissioner Roger Goodell was quick in issuing a response to show the league’s support for the cause.