NFL Will Reportedly Play Black National Anthem Before Week One Games
The NFL is reportedly planning to play Lift Every Voice and Sing, known as the Black national anthem, ahead of each of its season-opener games.
The move comes after some of the biggest names in the organisation, including Patrick Mahomes, Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley, came together to demand NFL owners admit they previously ‘silenced’ players who stood up for the Black Lives Matter movement.
In an effort to honour those who have been subject to systemic racism for so long, it’s now reported Lift Every Voice and Sing will be played or performed live before every Week One kickoff.
The national anthem of the United States, The Star-Spangled Banner, will follow each performance.
The decision to perform or play Lift Every Voice and Sing has not been officially announced by the NFL, but a source familiar with the league’s discussions shared the news with ESPN’s The Undefeated.
As well as playing the song, the NFL is reportedly considering a variety of other measures to recognise victims of police brutality during the upcoming season, for example listing the names of victims on uniforms through decals on helmets or patches on jerseys.
The NFL also may produce educational programs about victims.
Lift Every Voice and Sing would be introduced with the nationally televised regular-season opener, which takes place on September 10 and will see the defending Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans.
The song would also be played during the full slate of the NFL’s Week One Sunday afternoon games, during Sunday Night Football and during the two ESPN Monday night games.
According to the NAACP, Lift Every Voice and Sing was first written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson.
Johnson’s brother John Rosamond Johnson, set the poem to music in 1899 and it was first performed in 1900 as part of a celebration of former president Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, with a choir singing the song at the segregated Stanton School in Jacksonville, Florida, where James worked as principal.
Last month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the organisation was wrong for not listening to players who had protested for the Black Lives Matter movement, such as Colin Kaepernick.
He spoke for the organisation in a video shared online, saying:
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.
The league also announced it would pledge $250 million over the next ten years to fight systemic racism.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk